Vistas E-News, October 2019

MountainTrue Annual Gathering At New Belgium

Join us on October 23rd for our 2019 Annual Gathering at New Belgium Brewing in Asheville. Expect great beer, delicious food and great camaraderie.

Stronger Together: MountainTrue’s Annual Gathering
October 23, 6-9 pm
New Belgium Brewing Company
21 Craven St., Asheville, NC 28806
Click Here to RSVP

MountainTrue is a member organization, and your dedication and support helps us fight for our communities and protect one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. At the Annual Gathering we’ll be honoring our 2019 MountainTrue Award Winners, voting on our new board nominees and celebrating our recent merger with the Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition.

MountainTrue’s Annual Gathering is made possible with the help of the law firm of Davis & Whitlock Environmental Law. Together with New Belgium Brewing, their generous support helps us keep costs for the Annual Gathering low.

Vote On Our New Board Nominees

MountainTrue’s board members are voted on and approved by our current members. With so many new members throughout our region, this year we are rolling out electronic voting. You must be a current member for your vote to count.

Vote Online Now

Online votes will be tallied along with a live vote that will take place at our Annual Gathering.

Meet Our 2019 MountainTrue Award Winners

MountainTrue is proud to announce our annual award winners for 2019. These awards are given to MountainTrue members and volunteers who have been outstanding in their commitment to preserving WNC’s natural heritage. Awards will be formally presented at our Annual Gathering on October 23.

  • Esther Cunningham Award Winner: Katie Breckheimer
  • Volunteer of the Year for the High Country Region: Chris Souhrada
  • Volunteers of the Year for the Southern Region: Kay Shurtleff and Lucy Butler
  • Volunteer of the Year for the Western Region: Charlie Swor
  • Volunteer of the Year for the Central Region: Erin Gregory

Read more about our MountainTrue Award winners.

Nominate MountainTrue For Best Of The Blue Ridge Awards

Cast your vote for your favorite outdoor organizations, businesses, events, people and destinations. The nomination window for Blue Ridge Outdoors’ Best of the Blue Ridge closes on October 18 at 9AM. We would appreciate your support for Best Environmental Organization in the Businesses category. Vote now.

Calling Volunteers Who Like To Hike!

In advance of the release of the next management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, we are looking for volunteers who are interested in talking to hikers, anglers, birders or any type of recreational user at trailheads and parking lots about how they can help ensure the places they like to access are protected. If you’re interested in being part of our trail outreach team, please fill out this short sign up form.


Central Region News

For Buncombe, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties

Building Our City Speaker Series Addresses Walkability And Road Diets

Jeff Speck is a city planner and urban designer who advocates internationally for more walkable cities. We are excited for him to come to Asheville to inspire our community to imagine and plan for a more vibrant, walkable city. Jeff will be touching on the upcoming Charlotte St. road diet project which will decrease vehicle traffic lanes in order to add bike lanes and other bike and pedestrian friendly features. Join us to hear how projects like this will transform our community!
Read more.

Plugged In Buncombe Makes It Easier To Participate In Local Democracy

Have you ever wanted to attend a local government meeting, but worried you wouldn’t be able to follow along? This fall, MountainTrue is working to remove this roadblock through Plugged in Buncombe, an effort to demystify local advisory boards and committees. Participants will get the background on each meeting they’re interested in, and will be paired up with local topic experts who will be available to answer questions before and after each meeting. See the full list of meetings here and sign up to participate here.

Paint-Out And Artist Retreat To Preserve The French Broad

Join Preserving a Picturesque America (PAPA) for a free four day retreat in Hot Springs from Oct. 24-27. Conservationists, writers, artists are invited to participate in creating, learning and sharing ways to preserve the scenic beauty of the French Broad River. PAPA will be giving tours to sites that were depicted in the 1872 book, Picturesque America. The goal is to create an updated version of the book to promote the protection of these sites. For more details contact Scott Varn at 828-273-5383. Check out the Facebook Event.

Join The Buncombe County Parks, Greenway And Recreation Advisory Board

The Buncombe County Parks, Greenways, and Recreation Advisory Board was dissolved a few years ago but is now being reestablished. The County is starting from scratch and is seeking to get representation from a wide cross section of residents. The inaugural board will have a tremendous influence on goals and processes — a big task, but an important one. If you have a passion for parks, greenways and recreation, apply here.

High Country Regional News

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

Watauga Live Staking Season Kicks Off On October 18 In Boone

Watauga Riverkeeper Andy Hill is looking for some hearty volunteers to help stabilize local riverbanks. Volunteers will plant “live stakes” — a cutting from a tree species like silky dogwood, black willow, or elderberry that can be planted along riverbanks. They grow into trees and their root systems shore up riverbanks and reduce erosion.

The series kicks off with a Shade Your Stream workshop in partnership with the New River Conservancy and Blue Ridge Resource and Conservation Development Council and takes place this Friday, October 18, 2019 at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center. Learn more.

Additional “Paddle and Plant” workdays will be held by MountainTrue at Valle Crucis Community Park on November 8, November 15, December 6, December 13, February 9, February 16, March 13, March 20.

Watauga Riverkeeper Conducts Hellbender And Mussel Survey

Watauga Riverkeeper Andy Hill scuba diving with a headlamp. 

As part of the environmental impact survey for a dam removal project in the Watauga River Basin, Watauga Riverkeeper Andy Hill joined Dr. Mike Gangloff from Appalachian State University to conduct a survey of Hellbenders and Green Floater Mussels — a species of special concern and a threatened species, respectively. The aim of the project is to improve aquatic habitat and to ensure that dam removal does not harm these local treasures.

Southern Regional News

For Cleveland, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford and Transylvania counties

Green Riverkeeper Tracks Down Sewer Leak

Over the summer of Swim Guide bacteria sampling, we got some unusually high E. coli results in Cove Creek below Little Bradley Falls. Green Riverkeeper Gray Jernigan received a tip about a broken sewer line from a Saluda resident and did some follow up testing. Upstream the water tested clean. Twenty yards downstream was nine times over the EPA limit of 235 coliform forming units per 100 mL of water. The Green Riverkeeper has contacted the Town of Saluda and we’ll be working with them to get this fixed.

Help Save The Hemlocks Of The Green River

The eastern hemlocks of our Green River Gorge are under attack by the hemlock woolly adelgid, an exotic invasive insect that will kill most of our region’s hemlock trees within the decade unless action is taken. Join the Paddlers Hemlock Health Action Taskforce (PHHAT) for a day on the Lower or Upper Green River treating and saving hemlocks. For the Lower Green, no experience is necessary. For the November 3 workday on the Upper Green, all volunteers must have their own gear and be experienced on Class III whitewater. Sign up for one of four upcoming workdays:

Western Regional News

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

Support Native Habitats, Buy A Native Tree Or Shrub

Native trees and shrubs are important to the integrity of local habitats and key components to healthy streams and lakes. They provide shelter and food for native animals, filter pollution from water runoff, trap excess soil, keep water water temperatures cooler and help prevent stream bank erosion.

To raise awareness about the beautiful, resilient plants that are native to our Southern Appalachian Mountains and to raise funds for our ongoing invasive plant eradication efforts, we are again holding a Native Tree and Shrub Sale this fall. Choose from 25 species of native trees and shrubs, ranging from large shade trees, native ornamentals, pollinator species, and those particularly beneficial to wildlife.
Read more and order yours.

Callie Takes Part In Panel Discussion On Water & Climate Change

MountainTrue’s Western Regional Director, Callie Moore, participated in a well-attended film screening and panel discussion presented by WNC Climate Action Coalition on September 21 at Lake Junaluska. Panelists, which also included David Weintraub, director of the film Guardians of our Troubled Waters, and Eric Romaniszyn, executive director of Haywood Waterways Association, discussed local rivers, water quality and climate change-related impacts. Extreme weather events associated with climate change are causing increases in runoff, flooding and landslides across our mountain region. Panelists discussed how this is impacting water quality and straining our water infrastructure. Thanks to MountainTrue member, Neva Duncan Tabb for facilitating MountainTrue’s participation and providing signage to call attention to our table at the event. (Photo: Callie & Neva Duncan Tabb)

Save The Date! The Hiwassee Watershed Gala Returns On February 27, 2020

The 12th Annual Watershed Gala and Holman Water Quality Stewardship Award presentation will be held on February 27, 2020. This is our annual celebration and a chance to recognize all of our members, supporters and volunteers who work to keep our Hiwassee watershed healthy and clean. We hope you will join us for a delightful evening of food, laughter, and fun. Further details to come.

Upcoming Events & Volunteer Opportunities

Now – Nov. 11: Fall Native Tree And Shrub Sale In Murphy
Choose from 25 species of native trees and shrubs, including large shade trees, native ornamentals, pollinator species, and those particularly beneficial to wildlife, and support the work of MountainTrue.

Oct. 16: Plugged In Buncombe
In an effort to encourage Buncombe County residents to get plugged into our local democracy, we want you to join us at advisory board or committee meetings. These meetings are designed to encourage residents’ input on specific community issues at the city and county level.
3:30-5:30 p.m.: Sustainability Advisory Committee on Energy and Environment
5:00-7 p.m.: Planning & Zoning Commission

Oct. 18: Shade Your Stream Workshop With The Watauga Riverkeeper And Friends
Join our Watauga Riverkeeper, the New River Conservancy, and Blue Ridge Resource and Conservation Development for a workshop focused on stream bank repair and live staking techniques.

Oct. 22, Nov. 1, 3 & 10: PHHAT Hemlock Treatment Workday On The Green River
Save the hemlocks of the Green River from the invasive hemlock wooly adelgid.
Sign up for the Oct. 22 workday.
Sign up for the Nov. 1 workday.
Sign up for the Nov. 3 workday.
Sign up for the Nov. 10 workday. 

Oct. 22: High Country Habitat Restoration Workday
Learn about some of the worst invasives in the region and help clean up the Boone Greenway with MountainTrue and the High Country Habitat Restoration Coalition.

Oct. 23: Stronger Together: MountainTrue’s 2019 Annual Gathering
Celebrate another great year of protecting the places we share with MountainTrue at New Belgium Brewing in Asheville.

Nov. 2: Guardians Of Our Troubled Waters Film Exhibition In Mill Spring
Join filmmaker David Weintraub for a screening of and discussion about his documentary featuring the stories of the river heroes who helped clean up our waters.

Nov. 7: Plugged In Buncombe: Planning And Zoning Commission
Learn about the works of the Planning and Zoning Commission and how you can get involved in helping to steer future development in the city of Asheville.

Nov. 6: Building Our City Speaker Series With Jeff Speck In Asheville
Prepare to be inspired at this latest installment of the Building Our City Speaker Series featuring Jeff Speck, a city planner and urban designer who advocates or more walkable cities.

Nov. 8 & 15: Watauga Riverkeeper Paddle-N-Plant Workday
Reduce the amount of sediment that flows into our rivers by planting live-stakes along eroding river banks with the Watauga Riverkeeper and MountainTrue.
Sign up for the Nov. 8 workday.
Sign up for the Nov. 15 workday.

Nov. 9: Lake Chatuge Clean Up
MountainTrue hosts the 10th Annual Lake Chatuge Shoreline Cleanup in conjunction with Georgia Rivers Alive! The first 100 volunteers receive a free Rivers Alive t-shirt.

Nov. 14: Hendersonville Green Drinks: The Story Of DuPont State Recreational Forest
Sara Landry, Executive Director with Friends of DuPont State Forest will join us to discuss the story of DuPont State Forest.

Check out our full Events Calendar

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.