Hartwell Carson, French Broad Riverkeeper
Hartwell has worked to protect the French Broad River for the past 11 years. He was the first responder to Asheville’s coal ash pollution, working to protect the French Broad River and the nearby community by forcing Duke Energy to clean up and close down Asheville’s coal-burning power plant. Hartwell also implemented his idea for the French Broad River Paddle Trail by building new campsites and access points, which now link over 140 miles of the French Broad River.
In his time as the French Broad Riverkeeper, Hartwell has also published a paddle trail map, book, app, and online guide, trained hundreds of volunteers to monitor and report sediment pollution, created MountainTrue’s Swim Guide Program to spread awareness of and clean up bacteria pollution, repaired over 10 miles of failing dirt roads along trout streams, initiated the cleanup of several polluting dairy farms, implemented over two miles of stream restoration projects, and ensured regulations are adequate and enforced to meet the Clean Water Act’s goal of making all waters fishable and swimmable.
Hartwell completed his undergraduate education at the University of Georgia, studying Recreation and Resource Management. While a student there, he worked for the Outdoor Recreation Center as an environmental educator and guide. After working for the Forest Service in Colorado, Hartwell earned his Master’s of Science from the University of Montana, where he conducted extensive work examining the social and ecological impacts on the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. Hartwell currently serves on the Waterkeeper Alliance council and the board of Waterkeepers Carolina.