Layout Image



AmeriCorps Project Conserve is a national service program in which members come from across the nation to dedicate themselves to serving Western North Carolina for an 11-month service term. Members are selected based on skill, education, experience, passion and commitment to service.  Project Conserve was founded in September of 2004 as an initiative of Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) to respond to the growing conservation needs in Western North Carolina.  The program focuses on collaboration with nonprofit organizations, community groups and local governments to provide service throughout the region.

WNCA has listed the following positions with AmeriCorps Project Conserve:

  • French Broad Assistant Riverkeeper
    • The French Broad Riverkeeper Assistant will work with the French Broad Riverkeeper to protect and improve the water quality in the French Broad River watershed by engaging in water sampling, education, direct conservation, and volunteer recruitment.
  • Forest Keeper Coordinator
    • Forest Keepers are citizens that love their public lands and take an active role in their stewardship and management to help protect and restore these precious forests in a time of declining government funding. The Forest Keeper Coordinator will work with a group of dedicated Forest Keepers to schedule service learning events, organize stewardship activities, archive data, and facilitate citizen involvement in land management in the biologically and culturally rich Southern Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Outings and Education Coordinator
    • The Outings and Education Coordinator will work to engage citizens in environmental protection in Western North Carolina through outings such as hikes and paddle trips, outreach, and environmental education in both schools and the community. The Coordinator will also host a variety of educational events including the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and Asheville’s weekly Green Drinks’ programs.

Click HERE to apply and be part of our awesome team!

Categories News & Announcements, Stay Informed
Comments (0)

atc_oval_at_magnet_lgJoin the Western North Carolina Alliance and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy on Saturday, April 26 for an outing that will mix work with pleasure.

We will hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail near Max Patch that features a vivid wildflower display, great panoramic mountain views of Mt. Mitchell  to the east, the Smokies to the west, and a serious infestation of the non-native invasive plants, garlic mustard and Japanese spirea. Time will be split between enjoying wildflowers and pulling garlic mustard and spirea.


Hike leaders are John Odell of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Josh Kelly of WNCA.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)


This is a moderate hike. All participants must come prepared for wet weather and bring food, water, sturdy footwear, and work gloves (optional).

Carpool from Asheville:  Meet at the Westgate Shopping Center parking lot across from Jason’s Deli at 7:50 a.m.

Meet at the Max Patch parking lot at 9 a.m. depart by 4 p.m.


Spiraea japonica (Japanese spiraea)

Spiraea japonica (Japanese spiraea)

RSVP Required:

To RSVP, please email Education and Outings Coordinator Isabelle Rios, at


Asheville Citizen-Times: April 6, 2014

“The public can give input on their favorite forest views, as well as how the U.S. Forest Service manages wilderness, specially designated areas and scenic views at an April 17 meeting at Crowne Plaza Resort. This public session is the latest in the three-phase, multiyear process of revising the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Management Plan.

Forest Service planner Ruth Berner said the plan, expected to be completed by 2016, will guide management of Nantahala and Pisgah forests on how to manage for timber, wildlife, water, recreation and other uses, for the next 15 years.

Nantahala and Pisgah are two of four national forests in North Carolina, covering more than 1 million acres of the Western North Carolina mountains. Pisgah and Nantahala are among the most visited national forests in the nation, with more than 6 million visitors a year.”


The U.S. Forest Service will hold a discussion on wilderness and special designated areas from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 17, with a drop-in session on the Scenery Management System following, at the Crowne Plaza Resort, 1 Resort Drive, Asheville.

To participate in the wilderness and/or designated areas discussion, RSVP to by Thursday. For more information on the plan, or to comment, click here.

To send comments, use the comment link on the above website, or click here


Categories News & Announcements, Stay Informed
Comments (0)


We need you to help maintain and improve the world-class French Broad River Paddle Trail! If you want to lend a hand, please contact Kirby Callaway, assistant French Broad Riverkeeper, by calling (828) 258-8737, ext. 212, or email

April 10
10 a.m-4 p.m.

Meet: At the Marathon Gas Station on Highway 64 (map)
Bring: Loppers, gloves, lunch, water. If you don’t have any tools, let Kirby know and we will provide extra.
Project: At the Little River Campsite, we will be completing work on our new composting toilet, building a new picnic table, and cleaning up invasives around the property.

April 22
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Meet: In Marshall (map)
Bring: Personal boat, weed-eater, loppers, gloves, lunch and water. Let Kirby know if you do not have these items and we will provide them.
Project: We will be cleaning up the Evan’s Island Campsite. General maintenance will include weed-eating, mowing, and clearing debris from the tent sites. We will also be repairing tent sites and leveling them for the summer. Evan’s Island is a paddle-in only site, so we will put in the river a few miles above and paddle to the site.

April 29
10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Meet: Ingles parking lot (6478 Brevard Road in Etowah)
Bring: Chainsaws, loppers, gloves, lunch, water. Let Kirby know if you do not have these tools.
Project: At the Rhodes Ranch Campsite we will be building a trail throughout the campsite, cleaning up invasives along the riverbank, and sawing logs in the river that are obstructing the trail.

2014 French Broad Float

Include any important information about your schedule. If you cannot meet the group in the morning of your first day, please indicate this so alternative arrangements can be made to meet up with the group.

solarsnipClean Energy For Us, a local program that makes the adoption of solar power and energy efficiency upgrades cheaper and easier, will present a free educational workshop from 6-7:30 p.m. March 26 at The Mill Room, 66 Asheland Ave., Asheville.

The event will give the public an opportunity to learn more about the program, and solar, energy efficiency, and financing experts will answer your specific questions.

“Last fall we launched Solarize Asheville, a pilot program that resulted in 51 area homeowners adopting solar power,” said Katie Bray, program director. “But not everyone can afford solar power, so we added energy efficiency to the mix and opened the program up to homeowners, businesses, schools, and nonprofits in Buncombe County.”

The Western North Carolina Alliance and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy serve as the campaign’s non-profit partners and the local Self-Help Credit Union will provide financing for those who need it.

Clean Energy For Buncombe features a free energy audit and discounted solar pricing for homeowners, businesses, non-profits, schools, and worship centers who sign up before the March 31 deadline.

The March 26 educational workshop will feature presentations on solar energy, energy efficiency, financing, tax credits and a 30-minute Q&A.

For more information, email

Categories Event Archive
Comments (0)

RiverCleanupCome out on May 17 to help WNCA and our friends at Headwaters Outfitters at the 23rd annual spring French Broad River cleanup. 

We’ll provide breakfast, lunch and good music!

This event is free, but spaces are limited and a reservation is required.

Call Headwaters Outfitters at (828) 877-3106, or visit for more information and to reserve your spot.  


image001Chad Pregracke, CNN’s 2013 “Hero of Year,” is coming to the Harvest House in Boone to give a free presentation at 7 p.m. Monday, April 14. (map)

The event is open to the public.

Through his non-profit Living Lands & Waters, he has organized more than 70,000 volunteers remove 7 million pounds of debris from streams and rivers across the country.

Learn more about his story this April, or click here

Sponsored by Watauga River Partners and Mountain Keepers
Contact: Donna Presnell (, or  (828) 262-2659

Don McGowan

Join the Western North Carolina and Photographer Don McGowan (Earthsong Photography) for a very special weekend photography workshop (with all proceeds going to WNCA) to focus on Appalachian Barns.

“The Appalachian Barn Workshop: The Barns of Haywood and Madison Counties” is a three-day workshop that will take you to 11 historic and photogenic barns throughout Madison and Haywood counties. Don McGowan will offer a full day of field work in Madison and Haywood counties, a creative program and a full critique session.

Don’s love for nature began early on in his life. He grew up in the rolling Piedmont hills of Georgia, the child of farm children and the grandchild of farmers. As a teenager he spent much of his time exploring the forests, wetlands, and river valleys of the northern and central parts of his native Georgia. Later, during undergraduate and law school, his range expanded to include the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as the swamps of the southeastern coastal plain. As Don moved into his working career, he discovered that rather than wanting to spend less time in Nature, he wanted to spend more. He has now been a professional nature photographer for 20 years.

Here is the essence of what Don has learned:

“The images that we make are the reflections of our heart. From the moment we are born, and even sooner, we begin to receive impressions from the world around us; and, from those impressions, questions begin to be answered: What sort of place is this? Is it safe, or no? Does it mean me good or ill? What is this thing called beauty and how can I know it? What part do I play in all of this?

At some moment in time, the impressions begin to coalesce into pictures, the world takes on form, we become aware of elemental design; and these things stand before us within a context of light and shadow that is constantly changing. We see this with our eyes, in our minds, and within the core of our being. And we respond.

For some, the response is a verse, a song, the lines of a story; for others, it takes on shape and form: a bowl, the mouldings of a sculptored body; for me, it became a photograph. For I have found over the years that I best connect with the world through the creation of images; I best express that connection through the medium of pictures; and I best share that expression – my love of this earth – through the eyes of a camera and lens.”

Earthsong Photography

EarthSong Photography


6:30 p.m. – This introductory meeting will serve to help get everyone well acquainted with one another and with Don. We will meet at the WNCA office for hors d’ oeuvres and drinks.


6:30 a.m. – Field Day. We’ll be out barn hopping and photographing all day! A carpool will be organized and lunch will be in Mars Hill.


EarthSong Photography

EarthSong Photography

8 a.m. – We will meet back at the WNCA office. Light breakfast and coffee will be served. Each participant will receive a personalized critique from Don in a group setting. The critiques will end around noon.

Cost is $275 for WNCA-members and $295 for non-members (includes a one-year membership), part of which will be a donation to the Appalachian Barn Alliance to help preserve the historic buildings.



A digital camera that allows raw capture.

People of all experience levels are invited to join!

**If you have any technical questions or concerns about your camera please contact Don McGowan at or call him at 828.788.0687.


*Spots are very limited*

billboard_i26connectorThe Buncombe County board of commissioners and Asheville City Council will consider this resolution related to the I-26 Connector on March 18 (commissioners) and on March 25 (city council).

The Alliance is encouraging community members to attend to learn more and to comment on  this critical project and its impact on the region.

The I-26 ConnectUs Project is made up of representatives from the Asheville neighborhoods that stand to be most impacted by the I-26 Connector Project, including West Asheville, Burton Street, and Montford. The group is convened by the Western North Carolina Alliance.

We have been working together since 2009. All participants agree that the unfinished portion of I-26 as it passes through Buncombe County should be completed in a timely way.

The I-26 ConnectUs Project members are unable to support the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (DOT) request for the City of Asheville and Buncombe County to endorse an alternative for Section B of the I-26 Connector Project at this time. We recognize that the new, state level funding prioritization process is underway and that the project may rank higher in that process if the least expensive alternative is analyzed.

However, we believe it is premature to ask the City and County to endorse an alternative prior to the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a full understanding of the relative impacts and benefits of each alternative. Endorsing the least expensive alternative at this point, even for the limited purpose of prioritization, creates a very real risk that our community will be locked into that alternative in the future even if the EIS reveals another alternative is more beneficial.

If, however, adoption of a resolution in support of the least expensive alternative, Alternative 3C, is the best way to ensure that the project remains viable, we ask that the City and County be mindful of the following issues:

  • That Alternative 3C, as currently designed, does not meet the City’s long range plans
  • That the resolution is for the limited purposes of prioritization and does not reflect an endorsement of a final alternative, which will be made only after completion of the EIS and public hearings;
  • That the EIS should include infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians in all alternatives, consistent with the City of Asheville’s master plans;
  • That the City and County work with DOT to create benefits for those communities that stand to be impacted the most by this project;
  • That if a final, preferred alternative is selected that does not remove highway traffic from the Jeff Bowen Bridges, that the City and County advocate for a new project that would allow Patton Avenue and the bridges to become a continuous boulevard from West Asheville into downtown; and
  • That the City and County continue seeking to work with DOT and the Federal Highway Administration to identify options to reduce the footprint of the project, including utilizing design exceptions and context sensitive design, and conducting a new traffic study.

Commissioners meet  at 4:30 p.m. in Commission Chambers, 200 College St., Suite 326, in downtown Asheville. For more information, call the clerk at 250-4105 or email at

City Council meetings are at 5 p.m. in the Council Chamber, located on the second floor of City Hall, 70 Court Plaza, in downtown Asheville. Contact City Clerk Maggie Burleson at if you have questions.


Categories Stay Informed, Take Action
Comments (0)