October 2021 E-Vistas Newsletter

October 2021 E-Vistas Newsletter

October 2021 E-Vistas Newsletter

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What Kinds of Events and Outings Do You Want?

As we plan for the fall and winter of 2021-2022, we want to know your comfort level for different types of events at this point in the pandemic. How comfortable are you with indoor events? How about walking tours or workdays that take place outside? Want to go on a guided hike with us? Help inform our future events, fill out our Fall/Winter Event Survey.

‘Energy Solutions’ Bill Sets North Carolina on Path to Carbon Neutrality by 2050

On Wednesday, October 13, Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill called “Energy Solution for North Carolina” or HB 951. We commend Governor Cooper and Senator Berger for coming up with a laudable bipartisan compromise that sets aggressive clean energy goals and maintains the authority of the Utilities Commission to regulate the energy industry. The bill isn’t perfect, but, on balance, we believe HB 951 does far more good than bad. Read our analysis of the bill.

Join Us at One of Our Annual Gatherings

Each year, MountainTrue hosts a gathering of our members to recognize and honor outstanding volunteers, vote on new board members, and reflect on a year of hard work and accomplishments. Due to the COVID resurgence, we are holding four separate outdoor events — one in each region. We hope you can join us. Find your event and register to attend.

Protecting Ash Trees from the Emerald Ash Borer

MountainTrue’s public lands team is hard at work saving ash trees from emerald ash borer beetle. This summer, we assisted our partners with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in treating 280 ash trees in Macon and Haywood Counties. To date, MountainTrue has helped preserve more than 1,100 ash trees in Buncombe, Haywood, Macon, Madison, Transylvania, and Yancey counties.

MountainTrue Removes Invasive Plants from Rare Natural Communities

Photo by Armin Weise. From left to right: Bob Gale, Owen Carson, Brandon Wheeler, Josh Kelly, Armin Weise

MountainTrue has entered into an agreement with Pisgah National Forest to remove invasive plants from two rare grassland communities associated with rock outcrops. These areas contain dozens of rare species, and this work requires special care and expertise to ensure that we don’t inadvertently harm rare and native plants. Recently, we were able to treat 15 acres of invasives at two sites with the help of expert volunteers from EcoForesters, Equinox Environmental, and Western Carolina University. Want to get your hands dirty and volunteer? If you don’t mind difficult working conditions and breaking a sweat, contact josh@mountaintrue.org.

#BeMntTrue and Help Spread the Love for Nature and Our Region

Raise up your voice, show off your MountainTrue pride, and take part in our #BeMtnTrue Awareness Raiser!

This social media campaign will help MountainTrue reach new people and recruit more supporters and members. Take part in our #BeMtnTrue Awareness Raiser and help us build the movement to protect our communities and the places we share.

Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Get outside and take a selfie, photo, or video of yourself doing your part to protect our communities, cleaning up our rivers and trails, or just getting out to enjoy our beautiful Southern Blue Ridge Mountains.
  2. Then share your photos or videos on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and let the world know why you’re proud of being MountainTrue.
  3. Use the #BeMtnTrue hashtag and tag us in your post!
    Our tags:
    Facebook – @MountainTrue
    Twitter & Instagram – @mtntrue

You can start now by taking photos and videos and sharing them on social media while the weather is beautiful. Beginning on November 22, MountainTrue will share our favorites by reposting them on Facebook, featuring them on our Instagram story highlights, and retweeting them on Twitter.

Thanks for being a part of MountainTrue. Now get out and have some fun!

Prophetic Witness, Environmental Justice and the Mountain Valley Pipeline with Rev. Michael Malcom

Join the Creation Care Alliance on Thursday, October 21, for their monthly all-region Zoom meeting featuring Rev. Michael Malcom, Executive Director of The People’s Justice Council and Alabama Interfaith Power & Light. Named by Grist as one of the “top 50 people who will change the world” in recognition of his environmental work, Rev. Malcolm will discuss his experience protesting against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) alongside frontline community members and faith leaders. Register today.

Meet Maddy Watson, Our New Communications Associate

MountainTrue is excited to welcome Maddy Watson as our new Communications Associate. Maddy is thrilled to join the team at MountainTrue and to have the chance to pursue her passion for inclusive, equitable, and impactful conservation storytelling and action. A lifelong nature lover and a resident of Western North Carolina since 2015, she is driven to protect the scenic beauty and ancient landscapes of the Southern Blue Ridge for current and future generations of people and wildlife. Maddy likes to spend her free time exploring mountain roads, woodland trails, and antique shops. With two Bachelor of Arts degrees and a Master of Public Affairs degree from Western Carolina University, she’s ready to contribute to meaningful change in the mountain region she loves so dearly.

High Country Regional News

For Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Watauga and Wilkes counties

Cottages of Boone Continue to Pollute the Watauga River

Our High Country Water Quality Team is vigilantly collecting E. coli samples and working with the Department of Environmental Quality to resolve ongoing water quality violations from The Cottages of Boone, an apartment complex on the outskirts of Boone. The Cottages has consistently violated their discharge permit and proven to be a direct threat to water quality in the High Country. Since May of 2021, the complex has discharged over 75,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into Laurel Fork Creek, which flows into the Watauga River.

MountainTrue has reported multiple wastewater discharge violations to the NC DEQ’s Division of Water Resources. DEQ has followed up and issued notices of violation. Want to help support us in our work? Take action and sign our petition in support of our I Love Rivers action plan.

Battle Non-Native Invasive Plants in the High Country

Join MountainTrue and the High Country Habitat Restoration Coalition for an upcoming workday and help eradicate non-native invasive plants such as Oriental Bittersweet, Multiflora Rose, and Japanese Knotweed that grow along pathways and trails. MountainTrue is a member of the High Country Habitat Restoration Coalition — a coalition of agencies and non-profit partners working to educate the public about the environmental harm caused by non-native invasive plants and perform on-the-ground habitat restoration work in the High Country.

Interested in volunteering? Register for one of these upcoming events:
Oct 21 – 1–3 pm at Green Valley Community Park – 3896 Big Hill Rd, Todd, NC 28684
Oct 28 – 4–6 pm at The Greenway – 335 Hunting Hills Lane, Boone, NC, 28607
Nov 4- 1–3 pm at Valle Crucis Community Park – 2892 Broadstone Rd, Banner Elk, NC 28604

Collect Macroinvertebrates and Help Us Document the Health of our Streams

Do aquatic science with us by participating in the Stream Monitoring Information Exchange (SMIE) program this fall. Aquatic insects, or macroinvertebrates, are indicators of water quality. By collecting these water critters, we can rate the water quality of our local streams and monitor changes over time based on the families and species of insects collected. If you are interested in volunteering and learning more about aquatic organisms, please email hcwqa@mountaintrue.org.

What Have We Found in the Trash Trout this Month?

Our Trash Trout remains a valuable asset for the High Country. After a week of heavy rains, our team collected over 850 individual pieces of trash. Styrofoam is the most common type of trash found, with plastic bottles coming in second place. As part of our plastics monitoring program, we collect data and record the brands and types of trash polluting our waters. Click here to learn about all the work we are doing with our plastics campaign.

Southern Regional News

For Cleveland, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford and Transylvania counties

Celebrate at the Southern Region Annual Gathering!

Each year, MountainTrue hosts a gathering of our members to recognize and honor outstanding volunteers, vote on new board members, and reflect on a year of hard work and accomplishments. We hope you can join us on Tuesday, October 26, from 4:30 to 6 pm at Guidon Brewing Company in Hendersonville to recognize and honor MountainTrue’s 2021 Southern Region Volunteer of the Year: Erica Shanks! We are excited to be gathering in person this year and hope you can connect with us. All attendees are required to be vaccinated. Sign up to register.

Welcome AmeriCorps Water Quality Administrator Mara Chamlee!

We’re excited to have Mara Chamlee joining us as our new AmeriCorps Water Quality Administrator in the Southern Region. She will be conducting water quality programming and educational efforts with volunteers, schools, and the greater community.

Mara is from Greenville, South Carolina, where she learned to love the ecology, landscapes, and people of the Southern Blue Ridge. Mara earned a B.S. in Biology from Furman University and focused her undergrad research on dragonflies as indicator species of water quality. Mara became especially interested in sustainable agriculture in watersheds during her time working with the watershed team at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute. Since then, she has worked as a farm-to-school educator and food justice advocate in Vermont and Massachusetts.

Mara is finishing up a master’s degree in Conservation Leadership from Colorado State University, focusing on agriculture and watershed management in the Yampa Valley of Northwest Colorado. In her free time, Mara loves spending time outside, especially biking, backpacking, and gardening. Welcome to the team, Mara!

Weigh in on the Henderson County 2045 Comprehensive Plan!

Henderson County has kicked off its Comprehensive Planning effort with a Community Survey. This is an important opportunity for you to have a voice in how our county meets the challenges of climate change, a growing population, and increased pressures on our built and natural environments. We’ve prepared a guide for members of MountainTrue who want to see our community grow sustainably and responsibly. Click here for a list of suggested responses and more information about the survey and other opportunities for public input.

Learn about Sustainable Growth with Chris Joyell and Gray Jernigan

The League of Women Voters of Henderson County (LWVHC) is hosting a virtual program with guest speakers from MountainTrue sharing principles for sustainable and responsible growth in Henderson County on Wednesday, November 3 at 5 pm. Chris Joyell, Director, Healthy Communities, and Gray Jernigan, Southern Regional Director & Green Riverkeeper, will share guidance to assist public participation in the Henderson County 2045 Comprehensive Plan. The Henderson County Comprehensive Plan will serve as the vision and guide for development for the next 25 years. For more information and to register for this Zoom event, visit www.lwvhcnc.org.

Volunteer to help us monitor aquatic macroinvertebrates (that’s fancy for water bugs)!

Do aquatic science with us by participating in the Stream Monitoring Information Exchange (SMIE) program this fall. Aquatic insects, or macroinvertebrates, are indicators of water quality. By collecting these water critters, we can rate the water quality of our local streams and monitor changes over time based on the families and species of insects collected. If you are experienced in monitoring aquatic macroinvertebrates, we can get you on a sampling team before Thanksgiving. If you are inexperienced but want to learn, you can observe and assist a team this season and get trained in the future. Please email our Americorps Water Quality Administrator, Mara Chamlee, at wqa@mountaintrue.org.

Western Regional News

For Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties in NC, and Towns and Union counties in GA

Western Region Annual Member Gathering Tonight

Each year, MountainTrue hosts a gathering of our members to celebrate outstanding volunteers, vote on new board members, and reflect on a year of hard work and accomplishments. Instead of one big gathering this year, we’re having smaller outdoor regional gatherings. In our Western Region, we’re gathering tonight, Wednesday, October 20th, at 4:30 pm at the Big Bear picnic pavilion in Franklin, NC. We hope you can join us to recognize and honor MountainTrue’s 2021 Western Region Volunteer of the Year: Tod Fullerton! We are excited to be gathering in person this year and hope you can connect with us. Sign up to register.

Volunteer to Help Restore Native Plant Diversity at Island Park

Nicole Harris shows off some Chinese privet plants she pulled up at Island Park on February 10, 2021.

Through our ongoing partnership to eradicate non-native invasive plants at Island Park in Bryson City, MountainTrue and the Tuckaseegee River Alliance are hosting another set of volunteer work sessions on Saturday, October 23, from 10 am-12 pm and 1-3 pm.

We will use hand tools to cut the remaining invasive shrubs and then treat the roots. Each session is limited to 15 volunteers. No prior experience is necessary, and we will provide tools and training. Rain date: October 30. Register today to help restore native plant diversity at Bryson City’s Island Park: morning (10-12) and afternoon (1-3).

Eleventh Annual Lake Chatuge Shoreline Cleanup

Join other lake-loving volunteers on the first Saturday in November for MountainTrue’s annual Lake Chatuge shoreline cleanup. The kickoff is at 9 am at the Towns County Swim Beach Pavilion across from the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, where volunteers will get their assigned cleanup locations and receive bags, gloves, and safety information. Coffee and grab-n-go breakfast snacks will be available, along with free t-shirts for the first 50 volunteers. After two hours of shoreline cleaning at the assigned site, volunteers will meet back at the pavilion at 11:30 for prizes. Please register in advance to help organizers assign volunteers to teams.

Katie Caruso is Helping Battle Non-Native Invasive Plants This Fall

If you participate in one of our non-native invasive plant volunteer workdays this fall, you’ll likely meet Katie Caruso, MountainTrue West’s new non-native Invasive Plant Intern. Since early September, Katie has been working with Western Region Program Coordinator Tony Ward to control non-native invasive plants at places like Mayor’s Park and Hamilton Gardens in Hiawassee, Georgia, and Island Park in Bryson City. Katie graduated in 2020 from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.S. in Biology. She most recently completed a one-year term with AmeriCorps doing habitat restoration work (including removing non-native invasive plants!) on the Oʻahu National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Hawaii.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Join Us for an Annual Member Gathering in Your Area!

Join Us for an Annual Member Gathering in Your Area!

Join Us for an Annual Member Gathering in Your Area!

We are excited to be gathering in person this year to connect with our members, celebrate our MountainTrue Award winners, and see each others’ smiling faces!

Each year, MountainTrue hosts a gathering of our members to recognize and honor outstanding volunteers, vote on new board members, and reflect on a year of hard work and accomplishments. Due to the COVID resurgence, we are holding four separate outdoor events — one in each region —  in order to reduce the size of our crowd and to protect the safety of others. All attendees are required to be vaccinated. We hope you can join us. If you have questions about any of these events, please contact Susan Bean at susan@mountaintrue.org. Registration is accessible below for both the High Country and Central Region events. 

Check here to confirm that your membership is current, and if you are not a member you can join or renew when you RSVP!

Vaccination Required

Due to the high rate of COVID infections and hospitalizations across our region, we are requiring that all attendees be fully vaccinated in order to participate. Please come prepared to show proof of vaccination when you arrive. If you are not vaccinated, you will have an opportunity to vote for new and returning board members online.

October 7th – High Country Region
Valle Crucis Community Park in Banner Elk, NC
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

October 20th – Western Region
Big Bear Pavilion in Downtown Franklin, NC
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

 

October 26th – Southern Region
Guidon Brewing Company in Hendersonville, NC
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

October 28th – Central Region
HiWire Brewing Bier Garden in Asheville, NC
4:30 – 6:00PM


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

July 2021 E-Vistas Newsletter

July 2021 E-Vistas Newsletter

July 2021 E-Vistas Newsletter

Jackson County Wins the 2021 Bioblitz

After two weeks of hard-nosed competition, Jackson County won the 2021 Bioblitz, beating Watauga and Transylvania Counties. Overall, 46 people contributed 2,947 observations, and 317 people helped with the identification of 1,228 species. While Jackson County had 1,403 observations to Watauga County’s 1,068, the competition for the most species was much tighter – Jackson county prevailed 738 to 681. Transylvania County came in a distant third with 472 observations and 279 species. Check out our blog post to read more about our Bioblitz results and see photos of the winning observations.

Sarah Ogletree Joins MountainTrue as the Director of the Creation Care Alliance

The Creation Care Alliance is pleased to announce that Sarah Ogletree will be our next director. Sarah comes to us from our close partner, NC Interfaith Power and Light, where she has been for the last three years. Her dedication to seeking justice for both people and planet shines through in all aspects of her life, and she has consistently been recognized with awards for her leadership, dedication and excellence. Join us in welcoming Sarah! Read more.

We’re Hiring! MountainTrue Seeks a Great Environmental Communicator

MountainTrue seeks a bright, organized, and outgoing individual with strong communications skills, experience in online advocacy, and development writing. The Communications Associate will report to the Director of Communications and work closely with our Community Engagement Director, program directors and regional directors to (1) promote our programs through member outreach and correspondence, public relations, social media, and marketing; (2) support our advocacy goals through online organizing/advocacy; (3) provide writing and communications support for our fundraising activities. The deadline to apply is Sunday, August 15, 2021. Read more and apply.

August 29: Michael Franti and Spearhead Concert to Cleanup and Protect the French Broad River

MountainTrue, French Broad Riverkeeper and 98.1 River are proud to present Michael Franti and Spearhead for a benefit concert to support MountainTrue’s work to clean up and protect the French Broad River.

Sunday, August 29, 2021
Doors: 5:00 p.m., Starts: 7:00 p.m.
All Ages are Welcome
Tickets: $35 in advance; $39 general admission

French Broad Riverkeeper Hartwell Carson says, “Michael Franti is the perfect artist to bring us back down to the banks of the French Broad to celebrate our beautiful river. Come to enjoy a night of inspiring music and support our ongoing work to make our river cleaner and healthier.” Read more and buy tickets.

High Country Regional News

For Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Watauga and Wilkes counties

Sparking a Love for Clean Water and Healthy Ecosystems at High Country Forest Wild

Our Water Quality Administrator, Hannah Woodburn, visited High Country Forest Wild, an outdoor experiential learning school. She gave an instream lesson on aquatic insects and water quality to about 45 students. It was an excellent way to get young minds thinking about freshwater ecosystems and water quality.

MountainTrue Reports Water Quality Violation for Development Along Watauga Lake

While conducting routine sampling of Watauga Lake for our Harmful Algal Bloom Study, we spotted a new development lacking erosion control. We promptly contacted the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation, which issued a notice of violation. We hope to see improvements on the construction site and continue monitoring this development to help keep our waterways free of sediment pollution.

Bottomley Farms Clearcut Causes Severe Erosion, Ecosystem Collapse

Our Watauga Riverkeeper teamed up with Southwings to get a bird’s eye view of a massive clear-cut timber operation in Alleghany County being conducted by Bottomley Farms — a Sparta-based agribusiness company. The developers are removing all the trees, shrubs and vegetation, and grubbed it down to hundreds of acres of bare earth. The result has been severe erosion, sediment pollution of area waterways, and a total collapse of the ecosystem in Ramey Creek — once a thriving spawning ground for native brook trout. North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission staff could only save 13 individual trout out of the hundreds previously documented in that stream. Commission staff relocated the survivors to an adjacent watershed. Tragically, a species that thrived in that watershed since the glaciers retreated tens of thousands of years ago was erased by one egregiously bad timber project. Our report resulted in the NC Department of Environmental Quality issuing a notice of violation. We will continue to monitor this project and push for a lasting riparian buffer and a complete restoration of the stream.

Trash Trout Update: There’s Too Much Plastic in Our Waterways

Our Trash Trout on Winklers Creek continues to collect so much litter. We have removed and cataloged thousands of pieces of trash in the few weeks that the trash-collection device has been in place. The majority of the garbage found has been single-use plastics and styrofoam, underscoring the need to address the prevalence of plastics and microplastics in our environment.

Southern Regional News

For Cleveland, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford and Transylvania counties

Volunteer for Rhythm & Brews! Hear Good Music and Get Cool Stuff!

Join MountainTrue’s Recycling Team on Main St. during the Rhythm & Brews Concert Series in downtown Hendersonville this summer and fall to reduce waste and encourage recycling. Volunteers will be rewarded with an R&B volunteer t-shirt, a voucher for a free beverage, a koozie and a water bottle! Help educate attendees and monitor the waste stations.

Upcoming Concerts:
July 15: Abby Bryant & The Echoes with opener Andrew Thelston Band
August 19: Jamie McLean Band with opener Hustle Souls.
September 16: Mike and the Moonpies with opener Kenny George Band.
October 21: The Broadcast with opener TBD.

2 Shifts: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. & 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Volunteers needed: 4 per shift, 8 total
To sign up: https://signup.com/go/eRCebTq

Working to be Plastic Free Program Endorsed by Hendersonville City Council

L to R: Beth Stang, chair of Hendersonville’s ESB. Lyndsey Simpson, H’ville City Councilwoman, and Christine Wittmeier, chair of MountainTrue’s Recycling Team, hold a July 1st proclamation endorsing the Working to Be Plastic Free program.

On July 1, Hendersonville City Council approved a proclamation supporting Working to be Plastic Free — a plastic reduction program created by MountainTrue and the Hendersonville Environmental Sustainability Board. Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk signed the pledge and has encouraged staff to reduce the city’s use of plastic.

Many of the local merchants and restaurants participated in a plastics-use survey earlier in the year. Now, we’re encouraging them to sign the pledge and begin working to eliminate single-use plastics, such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, and take-out containers. Most of these plastics are not recyclable and end up in landfills or littering our rivers and streams.

MountainTrue is ready to help businesses find sustainable packaging alternatives, and participants will be recognized in press releases, newsletters, social media, and a webpage promoting the program. To get more information and sign the pledge, visit our webpage or contact MountainTrue’s Interim Southern Regional Director, Katie Breckheimer, at srogray@mountaintrue.org.

Congratulations to Our Broad River Race Winners: Jordan Jackson and Marc Stowe

Broad River Race winners Jordan Jackson and Marc Stowe accept the trophy from David Caldwell, the Broad Riverkeeper.

Our Third Annual Broad River Race was postponed when a thunderstorm moved across the area last Saturday, July 12. A day later, the race flag dropped, and the paddlers sped down the river. Four and a half miles and an hour later, Jordan Jackson and Marc Stowe were the first to cross the finish line in a tandem canoe to take home our race trophy, Betsy the Turtle. Annie Keith and her son David Caldwell, our Broad Riverkeeper, were hot on their trail. It was great to see so many people enjoying the cool waters of the Broad River, and we look forward to seeing who wins next year.

App State Eco-Tox Team Collects Fish Tissue Samples From the Broad River

The Appalachian State Eco-toxicology Team returned to the Broad River to collect more water, sediment and fish tissue samples for an ongoing study of the bio-accumulation of heavy metals in fish. The team sampled upstream and downstream of two industrial sites with permits to discharge pollutants into the river. MountainTrue will use the results to determine if we need fish consumption advisories for the affected sections of the waterway. Special thanks to our High Country Water Quality Administrator, Hannah Woodburn, and Appalachian State’s Dr. Shea Tuberty for leading this fantastic project.

ICYMI: Broad River Spring Sweep Collects Over 100 lbs of Litter

We had a small crew for this year’s Annual Broad River Spring Sweep on May 29, but we made a big impact by collecting over 100 lbs of litter (including a football) from the Broad River. It was also inspiring to see so many folks cooling off in the water and enjoying the river at the Greenway canoe access.

Western Regional News

For Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain counties in NC, and Towns and Union counties in GA

Crossover Timber Project Update: Your Advocacy Is Making a Difference

MountainTrue’s Public Lands Field Biologist Josh Kelly documents the age of a 200-year-old tree in the Nantahala National Forest.

We asked, and you responded! MountainTrue’s members submitted 334 public comments (36% of which were customized) and 24 letters to the editors of relevant local newspapers during the comment period for the US Forest Service’s Crossover Project. As currently proposed, the project would log more than 300 acres of old-growth forest, rare species habitat, and remote backcountry in the Snowbird Mountains of Nantahala National Forest.

The Nantahala Pisgah Forest Partnership — a broad coalition of forest users representing recreation, conservation and timber interests of which MountainTrue is a member— has joined the fight and requested that the Forest Service remove these acres from the project. For its part, the Forest Service has indicated a willingness to collaborate with the partnership to develop a better alternative during the Environmental Assessment phase of the project. Thank you for speaking up for our forests!

We’re Hiring a Nonnative Invasive Plant Control Intern

MountainTrue seeks a dedicated individual to fill a part-time, 12-week paid internship for its western region in Fall 2021. The position includes a combination of on-the-ground stewardship of public and conserved lands, volunteer recruitment and coordination, and public outreach. It will require travel to various locations within a 60-mile radius of Murphy (including north Georgia) and substantial work outdoors. The application deadline is August 4, and the start date is August 30. Visit our website to learn more.

Managing Nonnative Invasive Plants Webinar Coming in August

Due to popular demand, MountainTrue Western Region Program Coordinator Tony Ward and Public Lands Director Bob Gale will host a webinar on how to eradicate non-native invasive plants (NNIP) on Tuesday, August 24 at noon. Tony and Bob will discuss the best tools to control common NNIP species and the best seasons for treatment. The webinar will include an in-depth discussion about herbicides, the active ingredients of commonly used products, and how to apply them correctly and with minimal impact on the environment. Register for the free webinar today!

Become A Georgia Green Landscape Steward

The Georgia Green Landscape Stewards certification program provides educational resources that teach landowners about increasing plant and animal biodiversity, conserving soil and water, providing wildlife and pollinator habitat, and improving public and environmental health. Participants can measure their activities with the program’s metric scorecard and earn certification status for their landscape. Along with the satisfaction of contributing to natural resource protection, Georgia Green Landscape certification includes an option for Georgians to purchase an attractive yard sign to designate their property as a sustainably managed landscape.

Events & Volunteer Opportunities

July 18, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: Headwaters Fun Float on the First Broad River
Join MountainTrue as we head up to the South Mountains for a fun paddle on the cool shady waters of the First Broad River! Read more.

August 24, 12-1 p.m.: MountainTrue University: Managing Nonnative Invasive Plants
Join us for an educational program about managing common nonnative invasive plants, including techniques for control, best seasons for treatment, and more. Read more.

August 29, 7 p.m.: Michael Franti and Spearhead Concert to Cleanup and Protect the French Broad River
MountainTrue, French Broad Riverkeeper and 98.1 River are proud to present Michael Franti and Spearhead for a benefit concert to support MountainTrue’s work to clean up and protect the French Broad River. Read more.


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Jackson County Wins the 2021 Bioblitz

Jackson County Wins the 2021 Bioblitz

Jackson County Wins the 2021 Bioblitz

After two weeks of hard-nosed competition, Jackson County has won the 2021 Bioblitz over Watauga and Transylvania Counties. Overall, 46 people contributed 2,947 observations and 317 people helped with the identification of 1,228 species. While Jackson County had 1,403 observations to Watauga County’s 1,068, the competition for the most species was much tighter – Jackson county prevailed 738 to 681. Transylvania County came in a distant third with 472 observations and 279 species.

There were several notable performers in the Bioblitz, with 14 people making over 50 observations! The top three participants were Max Ramey (643 observations, 455 species; Watauga and Transylvania), Tim Lewis (408 observations, 323 species; Jackson), and Janaye Houghton (289 observations, 276 species; Jackson).

MountainTrue staff selected several people for recognition for their outstanding participation in the Bioblitz. Winners will receive gift certificates for local conservation-friendly businesses.

Max Ramey, as previously noted, was stellar and took home awards for Most Observations, Most Observations in Watauga County, and Best Observation for a stunning image of a Hellbender (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/82943347).

Tim Lewis was recognized for Most Observations in Jackson County and Sherry Downing won Most Observations for Transylvania County. Scott Persons got the award for Best Bird Observation for a crisp image of an Indigo Bunting. (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/82101741)

Erin Martin won Best Fungal Observation for a marvelously textured photo of the Common Toadskin Lichen (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/82589987)

Janaye Houghton won Best Arthropod Observation for an otherworldly image of a Spittlebug (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/82367166). 

The participation in the 2021 MountainTrue Bioblitz was phenomenal! It’s inspiring to see so many people learning about and appreciating the incredible diversity of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. If you enjoyed this year’s MountainTrue Bioblitz, stay tuned for next year. We plan to have many more group and in-person opportunities at the next Bioblitz. 


Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.

Western Region Non-Native Invasive Plant (NNIP) Intern (Murphy, NC)

Western Region Non-Native Invasive Plant (NNIP) Intern (Murphy, NC)

MountainTrue is seeking a dedicated individual to fill a part-time 12-week internship position for its western region in Fall 2021. The Intern will serve a minimum of 180 hours from August 30, 2021 through November 20, 2021. 

Western Region NNIP Intern Position Summary:

This internship position includes a combination of on-the-ground stewardship of public and conserved lands, volunteer recruitment and coordination, and public outreach. A primary task of the NNIP Intern is to assist Western Region Program Coordinator, Tony Ward with non-native invasive plant control work. The position will require travel to various locations within a 60-mile radius of Murphy (including north Georgia) and substantial work outdoors. Mr. Ward will provide training, support, and guidance for the position. The NNIP Intern will also benefit from the knowledge and expertise of other Public Lands staff through the teamwork approach practiced by MountainTrue.

Qualifications – Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Must have: Education or experience in – and a passion for – natural resources management, biology, or environmental science. Strong communication skills. Ability to work independently and balance multiple tasks. Stamina to work outdoors and maintain a positive attitude in challenging conditions and inclement weather. Respect for diverse groups and interests.
  • Would prefer: Education/knowledge in native and non-native plant identification. Experience working with volunteers.

Eligibility Requirements:

Applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident
  • Be available and commit to part-time service (15 hours per week) for the entire 12 weeks
  • Be at least 16 years of age on August 30, 2021
  • Have independent transportation

Responsibilities and Duties:

Non-Native Invasive Plant Control & Riparian Buffer Enhancement: 40%

The primary task of the NNIP Intern is the physical work of manual and chemical treatment of non-native invasive plants on public and conserved private lands sites in the MountainTrue western region which have been prioritized by the Western Region Program Coordinator. This aspect will also likely include assisting with riparian buffer plantings and live-staking at select sites as well. 

Volunteer Recruitment & Coordination: 30%

Organize volunteer workdays for treating NNIPs along the River Walk in Murphy, NC and the Little Tennessee River Greenway in Franklin, NC or other locations as prioritized by the Program Coordinator. Assist the Program Coordinator with management of the volunteers, which includes teaching them restoration techniques, informing them of the risks associated with the outdoor work, and supervising them during the workdays. The Intern is expected to keep detailed records of volunteer personnel (including names and contact, liability waivers, hours served, and frequency of participation).

Non-Native Invasive Plant Inventory: 20%

This aspect of the position involves field inventory/data collection of non-native invasive plant species. The intern will conduct walk-throughs of sites that have had NNIP treatment in the past, to document presence or absence of problem plant species. Get location and photo documentation and create reports for prioritization of future workdays.

Conservation Education: 10%

This aspect will primarily consist of educating volunteers and members of the public about native and invasive plants through organized education events and workdays. This could also include participation in or presentations at meetings; designing and producing posters and brochures, or promoting events. The Intern will be expected to assist with the Cherokee Heritage Festival on Saturday, September 18th in Hayesville, NC.

Weekly Schedule:

The Intern’s work schedule can be fairly flexible after training is complete; however, 2-3 longer days (5-7.5 hours/day) per week is preferable to allow for travel to/from work sites. Work will be required on at least three Saturdays, including September 18th (see above). An appropriate number of weekdays/hours will be excused to offset these as determined by the Intern’s supervisor.

Compensation & Benefits

  • $1,500 stipend (paid in equal installments, every two weeks on Friday)
  • Mileage reimbursement at $0.45 per mile on a monthly basis as per submitted and approved expense reports
  • Mentorship, training, and professional development opportunities. These may include a commercial applicator’s pesticide license, CPR/AED training, and more. 

HOW TO APPLY

Please send your resume and/or a statement of interest and qualifications to: tony@mountaintrue.org. Open until filled

Protect Old-Growth, Wildlife & Our Natural Heritage in Nantahala National Forest

Protect Old-Growth, Wildlife & Our Natural Heritage in Nantahala National Forest

Protect Old-Growth, Wildlife & Our Natural Heritage in Nantahala National Forest

The US Forest Service is proposing a 1,500-acre timber sale in the Snowbird Mountains in Nantahala National Forest that would log documented old-growth stands, steep headwaters of pristine streams, and areas recognized by the state of North Carolina for their outstanding biodiversity and healthy forests.

Act now and tell the forest service to fix their proposal and protect our natural heritage.

This is the latest in a series of bad faith projects on the Nantahala National Forest that propose road building and timber harvest in some of the wildest and healthiest forests in our region. The Crossover Project would prejudice the new Forest Plan against the protection of old-growth forests, rare species, and backcountry areas and put water supply watersheds at risk. This is not what we consider a “collaborative” project that furthers ecological restoration for Nantahala National Forest.

Josh Kelly, MountainTrue’s field biologist explains: “The Forest Service worked with a broad group of stakeholders, throughout the forest management plan process. With one hand, they assure us that they take collaboration and our input seriously, then with the other hand they draw up these plans that plainly contradict the recommendations of hunters, hikers, anglers, equestrians, timber companies and other forest users. This is an old-school timber sale that targets the most sensitive and controversial areas for logging. If this project represents Nantahala National Forest’s priorities for the next 20 years, everyone should be very concerned, not just because of the damage it would do to the land, but because of the lack of relevancy, it would ensure for the agency. ”

The Crossover Timber Project would log 158 acres of the Ash Cove Backcountry Area which was proposed for Backcountry Management in Alternative C in the new forest plan and endorsed by the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership. Commercial logging and building logging roads are incompatible with the Backcountry Management Area. The proposal for Crossover, following on the heels of a similar decision in the Buck Project, shows that Nantahala National Forest is biased against Backcountry Management.

The Crossover Timber Project would log 51 acres of Natural Heritage Areas. Within the project area, the slopes of Teyahalee Bald have been identified by the State of North Carolina as Natural Heritage Natural Areas for their outstanding biodiversity. These areas are home to some of the healthiest forests in North Carolina that include rare species like Mountain Catch Fly that would be harmed by commercial logging.

The Crossover Timber Project would log at least 98 acres of existing old-growth forests. The Forest Service’s own records show that all of these forests are over 130 years old, and fieldwork conducted by MountainTrue has documented trees over 200 years of age in these areas. MountainTrue alerted the Forest Service to the location and presence of these rare old-growth sites and they are still being targeted by this timber sale.

The Crossover Timber Project proposal would log more than 400 acres at the source of Robbinsville’s drinking water supply. Seventeen stands slated for analysis of commercial and non-commercial timber harvest treatments lie in the Long and Rock Creek watersheds. These streams flowing off the ridge of the Snowbird Mountains are all classified as High-Quality Waters and feed public drinking water supplies for the Town of Robbinsville.

The Crossover Timber Project would permanently decommission the western half of the Snowbird Mountain Trail. Recreation groups within the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership had asked that the trail be improved, not decommissioned within their recommendations for the forthcoming forest management plan.

If the Forest Service truly believes in collaboration, the solution is easy: Follow the recommendation of the partners you’ve been working with for the past 8+ years. The Forest Service can have a successful timber project while protecting Natural Heritage Natural Areas and existing old growth, and keeping Snowbird trail open.

ACT NOW: EMAIL THE FOREST SERVICE.

THREE WAYS YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

1. Email the Forest Service

The Forest Service is now soliciting input on the design of its Crossover Timber Project!

2. Send a Letter to the Editor

Send a letter to the editor of the Smoky Mountain News to raise public awareness.

3. Support Our Timber Monitoring Program

MountainTrue monitors and analyzes every project in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests to support vulnerable species, safeguard old-growth forests, and make sure you have wonderful outdoor spaces for biking, hiking, hunting, fishing and foraging.