November 2021 E-Vistas Newsletter

How Highlands Got BearWise

It took a decade of effort, but this scenic Western North Carolina town did what no other town or city in the country has done to date: become a BearWise certified community. This significant accomplishment was no easy feat. Learn how former MountainTrue Highlands Chapter head, Cynthia Strain, led the charge and helped make Highlands, NC a BearWise town. Read more.

MountainTrue in the News

WLOS recently interviewed MountainTrue Southern Regional Director and Green Riverkeeper Gray Jernigan about North Carolina’s newest energy bill: HB951. Watch the brief interview here.

Nov. 30: 5point Adventure Film Festival

Join MountainTrue this Giving Tuesday for a very special screening of the 5Point Adventure Film Festival. Get inspired to explore wild places and to get invigorated to protect our natural world. MountainTrue is making this 5Point Adventure Film Festival screening available free of charge so it is accessible to everyone. However, MountainTrue is paying for the films, and this is a fundraiser for the organization. Register today.

Give!Local and Support MountainTrue

Don’t forget to support MountainTrue through Give!Local between now and December 31, 2021. Gifts over $25 receive a voucher book filled with great freebies and discounts from your favorite area retailers. Visit our Give!Local donate page to see what other goodies are available and to make a contribution.

#BeMtnTrue and Share Your Outdoor Experiences

Have you gotten outside recently? Been on a hike? Climbed a mountain? Cleaned up some trails, creeks, rivers, or lakes? We want to celebrate your outdoor experiences as part of our #BeMtnTrue Awareness Raiser! Share your photos and videos with us on social media, tag us, and don’t forget to use the #BeMtnTrue hashtag. We’ll be sharing our favorite #BeMtnTrue posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter from November 22 until December 31!

Saying NO to Plastics with the Creation Care Alliance

Join our faith-based program and congregation members from across western North Carolina from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 18, for a conversation regarding the importance of saying “NO” to plastics. Watershed Outreach Coordinator, Anna Alsobrook, will present her work to clean up plastic and microplastic pollution in our rivers and watersheds. We’ll then consider together the many ways that our congregations and communities can lessen plastic use and become more sustainable for the good of all creation. We know we’ll learn from each other, and we look forward to being with you for this critical conversation and opportunity to brainstorm. Register today.

Get Ready for the Final Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan!

After eight years, countless meetings, and over 20,000 public comments, the final draft of the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Plan and Environmental Impact Statement will be released very soon — likely December or January. The plan won’t be completely finalized until five months after it is released. That is because federal regulations require a 60 day Objection period during which interested parties that commented on the Draft Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) can file an objection if they are dissatisfied with the Final Plan or EIS contents. Following the 60 day Objection Period, the Forest Service has 90 days to respond to Objections before publishing the truly final Forest Plan.

MountainTrue has advocated — through our participation in the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership (NPFP) — for a plan that protects the vital ecosystems and water resources in our National Forests while increasing recreation opportunities, ecological restoration, fire management, and improving wildlife habitat. If the Final Plan falls short of the collaborative recommendations of the NPFP, we may choose to object in the hopes we can improve the end product. Stay tuned!

Building Our City: Centering Carbon Emission in Planning

Join Jason Hardin, senior planner with the City of Raleigh’s Planning and Development department, as he discusses how Raleigh’s new carbon emission analysis responds both to the goal of reducing carbon emissions by 2050 and how those goals are embedded in the city’s comprehensive plan. Learn more and register.

Central Regional News

For Buncombe, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties

Buncombe County Begins 20-Year Planning Process

Buncombe County has kicked off its comprehensive planning process, an opportunity that only comes along every 20 years. Comprehensive plans provide residents a role in planning for future growth and development. To learn more about Buncombe County’s planning process, here’s a three-minute video describing the process. For more information, please visit the county’s Comprehensive Planning website. MountainTrue is fortunate to have a seat on the 22-member steering committee, and as the public input process ramps up this winter, we will alert you when there are opportunities to share your ideas. Stay tuned!

High Country Regional News

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

Live Stake with Us and Help Protect Aquatic Habitats

Starting in December, we will be working to combat sediment erosion in our local waterways through livestaking workdays in the High Country. Livestaking is the planting of live cuttings of dormant trees in the riparian buffer zone along the stream bank. These planted stakes grow into trees that stabilize the sides of the rivers and creeks, help filter stormwater runoff, protect vital aquatic habitats, and prevent soil erosion and sediment pollution. Come plant with us at one of our livestaking workdays from December through March!

Dec 3, Dec 18, Jan 15, Jan 21, Jan 28, Feb 19, Feb 26, March 5 ​​
10 am- 2 pm for all 

Thank You for Fighting Invasive Plants in Brookshire Park and Green Valley Community Park

Thank you to all the volunteers who joined Mountain True and the HRC to eradicate non-native invasive species in the high country this fall. We held two successful workdays where we took out a lot of Oriental Bittersweet and Multiflora Rose at Brookshire Park and Green Valley Community Park. We are looking forward to warmer weather in the spring and more workdays to remove invasives with our volunteers!

We Need Microplastic Volunteers in the High Country

We are looking for a few dedicated volunteers to help once per month with our microplastics program. Volunteers will help collect surface water samples, help with a quick 10-20 minute litter cleanup each month and log the trash in a google form to help us better understand sources and types of plastics found along our river banks. We filter and read the water samples under a microscope to measure them for the presence of microplastics. If you are interested in helping with this program, please contact for more information.

Southern Regional News

For Cleveland, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford and Transylvania counties

Good Times at Oklawaha!

On October 26, a group of eight volunteers joined with MountainTrue Ecologist Bob Gale and AmeriCorps Forest Keeper Coordinator Ellianna McLaughlin to eliminate non-native invasive privet and multiflora rose at Hendersonville’s Oklawaha Greenway. The full sunshine and cool mountain wind made for a beautiful fall day spent outside.

We worked in a wooded area adjacent to a wetland bog, which provides wildlife habitat for various birds and amphibians. It was gratifying to see that an area we’d treated four years ago had only sparse resprouts from the existing seed bank — and native swamp rose and ash tree saplings had moved in! We treated the invasive sprouts and moved to new sites, attacking older plants and expanding our restoration area. It was a successful day with this fun group!

Making Sure All Voices Are Heard in the Henderson Comprehensive Plan

Over the past month, MountainTrue has been busy meeting with groups in Henderson County to increase public participation in their Comprehensive Planning Process. Every 20 years, comprehensive planning offers residents the opportunity to weigh in with their vision for the future. Following virtual meetings with Citizens Concerned with the Climate Crisis (C4) and the League of Women Voters, MountainTrue staff traveled to the Hola Carolina’s Cultural Center, located in Jackson Park, to host a series of focus group discussions. We’ll work with Hola Carolina and El Centro to ensure the Latinx community has a strong voice in the process.

Here are some helpful links related to the Henderson Comp Plan:

ICYMI: Neighborhood Hawks with John Lane

John Lane, Emeritus Professor of environmental studies at Wofford College, joined our virtual Hendersonville Green Drinks program on Nov. 11 to discuss his book called “Neighborhood Hawks.” John talked about how he studied the hawks, his writing process, and the reception of his book. If you missed the live webinar, don’t fret; you can watch the entire recorded program on the MountainTrue YouTube channel.

Western Regional News

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

Tod Fullerton is Western Region Volunteer of the Year

Tod Fullerton received the Western Region Volunteer of the Year award for 2021 at the Western Region Annual Gathering in Franklin on October 20. Tod is a long-time water quality monitoring volunteer, but he has also volunteered with our public lands program. Tod is passionate about our National Forests and made extensive personal comments on the draft management plan for Pisgah-Nantahala National Forests in 2020. And he wrote an excellent letter to the editor in defense of old-growth forest communities associated with the Crossover Timber Sale project that was published in the Cherokee Scout in June. Thank you, Tod, for being a champion for resilient forests, clean waters, and healthy communities in the Southern Blue Ridge!

Lake Chatuge Shoreline Cleanup Nets Lowest Trash Volume Ever

Photo caption: The team assigned to the Mull Road primitive camping area included members of the Rotary Club of Lake Chatuge and Towns County Lions Club.

This is the eleventh year of the Lake Chatuge Shoreline Cleanup, and we finally saw a significant reduction in litter and dumping around Lake Chatuge! Many community and local government efforts helped make that goal a reality, and we are grateful for them all. This year, 40 volunteers picked up 1,520 pounds of trash from lakeside public lands on both sides of the state line. It’s the first time in history that we’ve collected less than a ton of trash, but the team leaders all reported back with confidence that their sites were all clean! Thanks to everyone who participated with extra gratitude to Tennessee Valley Authority, Towns County Government, and the US Forest Service.

Volunteer Workday on the Murphy River Walk This Saturday

Photo of volunteers removing NNIPs on the Murphy River Walk [you don’t have to include this photo, if you’re trying to reduce the number]

Join us on Saturday, November 20th at 1 p.m. for a volunteer workday to control nonnative invasive plants along the Murphy River Walk. We will use hand tools to cut invasive shrubs like Chinese privet and then treat the stumps. No prior experience is necessary; we will provide tools and training. All you have to bring is water and energy! We will be meeting at the McClelland Street parking area, but please register in advance so that we will have enough tools, gloves, and other supplies. Volunteer workdays on the River Walk are also scheduled on November 22 & 29, 2-5 p.m. Contact Tony Ward for details. Let’s improve the wildlife habitat and natural beauty at the Murphy River Walk!

Events & Volunteer Opportunities