NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – November 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Sierran,

With Thanksgiving coming next week, we at the NC Sierra Club would like to take a moment to express our appreciation for all of the hard work done by our volunteers. From working to elect conservation-minded candidates to celebrating our wilderness areas, Sierrans have shown time and again what people can do to preserve and protect our state’s natural heritage.

We hope you enjoy the upcoming holidays, and as always, it’s a pleasure working with and for you.

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

Take Action: Protect Our Forests


The U.S. Forest Service is currently in the process of revising the management plans for North Carolina’s Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, which determines the future of our forests for decades to come. These plans only get revised once every 15-20 years and this is a critical time to let your voice be heard!

The Forest Service is proposing a large proportion of the landscape for “timber production”, rather than a balanced plan that will provide for recreation, natural resources, sensitive ecosystems, wildlife, wilderness protection and timber harvesting.

Click here to send in your comments to the US Forest Service and let them know that we should protect our forests!

2014  Annual Report Cover12.png

2014 Annual Report

The NC Sierra Club’s 2014 Annual Report & Ballot has been mailed to all members! It should arrive at homes across the state this week.

Aside from updates on our work this year, the annual report includes a Message from the Chair, recognition of our financial supporters, information about electing local and state volunteers to leadership positions in the Sierra Club, and more!

But you don’t have to wait to receive your report from the Postal Service to check it out. Click here to read the 2014 Annual Report online!



Electing Today’s Environmental Leaders

Every Sierran in North Carolina can vote in Chapter elections. This year, there are five candidates running for three open seats on the NC Sierra Club’s Executive Committee. Chapter elections information can be found by clicking here:

Also, every Sierra Club member in North Carolina belongs to a local group, and these local groups are holding their elections now, as well! Click here for information about electing your local Sierra Club leaders:

All elections are open now and close on Dec. 15th. Don’t miss your chance to vote!  Click here to vote now!

Not a member yet?  Click here to become a bona fide Sierran today!

Croatan Wilderness12.png

Wilderness Spotlight: Croatan National Forest

The 160,000-acre Croatan National Forest lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Neuse River and contains a variety of ecosystems, which are further protected within four separate wilderness areas set aside in 1984. The forest is cherished for its pine forests, salt estuaries, bogs, and pocosins. Being suitable for hiking, camping, hunting, and trail biking make these wilderness areas great places to explore and connect with nature.

Click here to read Nancy Card’s full blog post about this national forest and the four wilderness areas within it.


 News Worth Sharing

Coal Ash

The newly formed Coal Ash Management Commission (CAMC) held its first meeting last week. The meeting itself mostly provided the commissioners with information about coal ash in North Carolina.

The website for the CAMC has the presentation from that all day meeting and is chock-full of useful information. Click on the link to keep an eye on CAMC and their upcoming work:

Offshore Drilling

Earlier this month, state officials hosted a closed door meeting about potential offshore drilling off the Eastern Seaboard. And even though elected officials, federal agencies and state bureaucrats attended the meeting, the public was shut out. The federal government is currently evaluating whether to allow drilling off our coast in federal waters. Governor McCrory is an advocate for opening up the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling.

The NC Sierra Club was instrumental in pointing out the lack of transparency. Hopefully future meetings will allow public participation. Read our response to the closed door meeting in the Associated Press story here:


North Carolina is a national leader in solar power; however, uncertainty around several solar policies have many businesses and solar supporters worried. Dave Dewitt at WUNC produced a great story about the solar policies in our state and the challenges they face. Click the link to read and listen to his story:

And find out more information about our Solar Is Rising campaign at!

Want to know the latest? Join us on Facebook or Twitter!

Join us on Facebook NC Chapter on Twitter

Box Creek Wilderness Update – October 23

Here’s an update about the plan to run a powerline through the Box Creek Wilderness in Rutherford and McDowell counties. Thanks to the great folks involved in this fight. If you would like to join in and support this fight, or if you have any questions, email Elly Wells.

Box Creek Wilderness News

Box Creek Wilderness Festival Visitors  Box Creek Wilderness Festival Visitors  Box Creek Wilderness Festival Visitors

Thank You!

We’ve had a great start to the fall with a booth at the Rutherford Hilltop Festival on October 4, and the Mountain Glory Festival in Marion on October 11. We met lots of new friends and had more than 240 people sign our petition to save Box Creek between the two events.

Our total number of Save Box Creek petition signatures is now at 1,802! Whether you signed the petition online or at a festival booth, we appreciate your support and ongoing interest in the future of Box Creek Wilderness.

New Policy for Speaking at REMC Annual Meeting

Several of you have asked us about speaking (on topics ranging from the Box Creek Wilderness issue to alternate energy to capital credit payments) at this Saturday’s October 25, 2014 REMC Annual Member Meeting; some of you have then contacted REMC directly to inquire about speaking.

Last year at the 2013 meeting, two people asked to speak at the meeting and permission was granted and they spoke; time limit was three minutes.

Based on information supporters have shared with us, REMC has apparently changed its policy for the 2014 Annual Member Meeting in the following ways:

  • REMC requires that you send them a written request to speak at the meeting two weeks in advance (Saturday Oct. 11 for this year’s Oct. 25 meeting);
  • REMC requests that the written request to speak outline your proposed remarks so that the General Manager may obtain information related to your remarks before the meeting;
  • Remarks should be limited to topics of general interest to REMC or its members that relate to the business of REMC;
  • REMC’s General Manager has the discretion to approve or decline your submitted remarks;
  • If REMC’s General Manager allows you to speak in his discretion, you will be allowed no more than three minutes to speak; and
  • If more than 10 members request to speak, REMC will limit the number of speakers.
  • REMC has not published this new policy on its website yet, so details would need to be confirmed by REMC.

November 8: Autumn Hike in Box Creek


Box Creek Wilderness HikersWe’re excited to announce another oppportunity to hike in Box Creek Wilderness. Saturday, November 8, 2014 — hikers will meet at 9:45AM on Box Creek Road to begin the hike at 10:00AM sharp. The hike will be about three miles round-trip, with a stop at the top of Rockey Face Mountain.

If you are interested in attending this hike, please email us with the number of people in your party and their names. Hike spaces are limited, so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to sign up to attend. More detailed directions and information will be provided to those who sign up for the hike.

About the Hike
Box Creek Wilderness Hikers at Rockey FaceOur hike will be led by conservation biologist Kevin Caldwell of Mountains-to-Sea Ecological. It will go through the heart of Box Creek Wilderness, allowing participants to look at rare forest types including alluvial forests, dry basic oak-hickory forests and piedmont basic glades. Topics such as rare species, unusual plants, watersheds, geology, rocks, natural communities, and restoration ecology will be discussed. The hike will take a rest break top of Rockey Face, with broad sweeping views. No dogs please.

The hike is strenuous and may involve some hiking off-trail.

If you would like to join this hike, or if you have any questions, email Elly Wells, Box Creek Wilderness Communications or call (828) 258-3387.]

Legal Updates

Box Creek Wilderness Case

Last month, September 2014, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part the October 2013 case dismissal decision by the Rutherford County Superior Court with respect to the condemnation of the portion of Box Creek Wilderness in McDowell County. The Court of Appeals concluded that the condemnation of the Box Creek Wilderness property located in McDowell County could not go forward in the Box Creek Wilderness case, but that the Rutherford County portion could go forward.

On October 8, 2014, attorneys representing Box Creek Wilderness landowner Tim Sweeney filed a petition with the Court of Appeals to reconsider that decision based on legal errors, arguing that the condemnation of all of Box Creek Wilderness, including that portion in Rutherford County, should be dismissed. As of today October 15, 2014, the Court of Appeals has not ruled on the petition. In addition, the second lawsuit REMC filed to condemn additional property of Tim’s in the Copperleaf Tract, is still pending in Superior Court.

Tim’s offer to donate property he owns for an alternate right of way for the transmission line, which would keep the new line from bisecting this Natural Heritage Area in McDowell and Rutherford, still stands.

Rights of Members to Information for Non-profit Corporations in NC

In a separate case regarding the disclosure of information to members of non-profit corporations in North Carolina like REMC — In August 2014, the Rutherford County Superior Court ruled that Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation is governed by the North Carolina Non-profit Act, which includes laws that protect members of non-profit corporations and provides all members of such corporations access to information about the corporation including board meeting minutes, financial reports, the member list, and other information typically afforded to members of a non-profit corporation.

The court recognized that this information is needed by members in order for them to meaningfully participate in member activities, such as annual member meetings and the nomination of directors.  REMC has appealed that decision to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Help protect NC’s National Forests!

Thanks to our partners at the NC Conservation Network for this action alert to preserve and protect our National Forests and wild areas! Please consider taking action.

Linville Gorge/Dennis Oakley

More than one million acres of western North Carolina lies in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests. Ensuring that that land is managed properly for people and nature is vital to its future. This is why we’re hoping you can help.

Tell the US Forest Service (USFS) to update their forest management plans for the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests:

In a nutshell, the USFS has plans in place for how they manage every National Forest across the country, and these plans only get revised once every 15-20 years. In North Carolina, the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests plans are currently in the process of being revised by the USFS.

In order to improve these plans, we’re asking the USFS to make these changes:

  • Make ecological restoration the overarching goal of the new plan
  • Restore forest types that are the most departed from their historical condition
  • Prevent fragmentation of important core forests
  • Return fire to the landscape, including wilderness areas, through the use of controlled burning
  • Protect old growth forests from commercial logging
  • Manage the forest to protect 36 ecologically important areas identified by the NC Natural Heritage Program

This is a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to influence the management of huge chunks of conservation land in western North Carolina. Urge the USFS to make the recommendations above and protect these beautiful forests:


Brittany Iery
NC Conservation Network

For More Information:

1. Western North Carolina Alliance: Have your say about the future of the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forests!

Save North Carolina’s Hofmann Forest – The Largest University Forest in the World

Please join me in signing a petition to save Hofman Forest!

For more information or to help with this campaign, contact Ron Sutherland at

To learn more about the Hofman Forest, check out the great interactive active map below and the two recent updates about the sale.

Hofman Forest Map

Here are two recent updates about the sale of this North Carolina treasure.

NCSU ponders making Hofmann Forest error

Problem is, word leaked a while back that NCSU’s powers-that-be want to trade the forest to the Walker Agriculture Group of Illinois for a truckload of cash. The news got the school’s forestry professors and student body up in arms, not to mention conservationists and ecologists.

The real fly in the punch bowl is a development plan that includes roads, houses, shopping centers, a golf course and thousands of logged, crushed, burned, ripped and plowed acres to be planted in corn. Once “the plan” became public, the Wuffies denied they’d designed it, and the Walker group denied they’d made it. Walker also now denies any sort of “development” will occur at Hofmann Forest, but the terms of the sale don’t preclude the company doing whatever it wishes.

Because the White Oak and New rivers flow through Hofmann, development on a landscape scale almost certainly will cause trouble downstream: erosion, polluted water, high bacteria counts, beach closures. The Castle Hayne Aquifer that provides fresh water to several communities could also be affected. The forest acts as a filtering agent to prevent bad stuff from getting into the aquifer, the rivers, fish and, ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean.


Opponents to forest sale await rulings on assessment

The university has contended that the land is not “public” and not subject to the environmental assessment requirement under the State Environmental Policy Act, but Sutherland and the others have noted that the land has not been subject to taxation and that the state attorney general, Roy Cooper, has said he was obligated to handle the case for the university.

The university also faces a pending investigation by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which is examining findings by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that indicate illegal wetlands ditching and draining has taken place in the forest.

While the university and Hofmann Forest LLC have contended the forest would be protected under the original sale, opponents have said there was nothing firm about that in the sale agreement, nor in the new one, and have pointed to leaked buyers’ prospectus circulated by Hofmann LLC to attract investors.

The prospectus mentioned the possibility of up to 2 million square feet of commercial development, possible construction of up to 10,500 residential units and the high-quality soils that would be conducive to farming if the trees were removed. The school and the LLC disavowed that prospectus.

“Also, consider this thought experiment,” Sutherland (Ron Sutherland, a conservation scientist for the Wildlands Network) said. “If another large tract of existing public forest, such as Croatan or Pisgah National Forest, were suddenly placed up for sale – of course we would fight such a plan tooth and nail – (and) if the relevant government leaders then announced a new plan where only one-fourth of the forest would be destroyed for sure, and the rest only ‘possibly,’ would anyone call that a victory for conservation? No, absolutely not. That would be a huge net loss of public forestland that citizens would find unacceptable. That is the alternative being proffered by NCSU now, with their revised Hofmann sale agreement, and we continue to reject their flawed premise that some loss of public forest is a necessary outcome of this situation.”

Please join me in signing a petition to save Hofman Forest!

Thanks, and spread the word to your friends on Facebook, etc!



Sierra Club on the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

Take the time to watch this very good and short video about the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. It will definitely make you want to  Sign Up Today for the NC Sierra Club Wilderness Weekend!

On September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law one of our country’s greatest conservation laws, the Wilderness Act. This historic bill established the National Wilderness Preservation System and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wild lands for the use and enjoyment of the American people. Over the past 50 years, and as a result of America’s support for wilderness, Congress has added nearly 100 million more acres to this unique land preservation system—in 44 out of 50 states. The 1964 Wilderness Act defines “Wilderness” as areas “where the earth and its community of life …appear to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable…”

Wilderness Interviewees

Forest Service to Host Uwharrie National Forest Trail Strategy Meeting – Sept 18

If you spend anytime over in the Uwharrie you know it is a special place. The Salisbury Post just ran this article about the endangered and threatened species being studied there – Researchers use Uwharrie National Forest as living lab.  On the same page as the article are 2 sidebars worth reading – “Archaeology, anthropology research significant” and “A little history with your hike”.

If you want to be a part of the long term planning and use of the forest, plan to attend the meeting. For more information or to get on the email distribution list, contact:

Theresa Stevens Savery (Terry)
District Recreation Staff Supervisor
National Forests in North Carolina
Uwharrie National Forest
789 NC Hwy 24/27 East
Troy, NC 27371-9332
Phone #: 910-576-6391 x 102
Cell #: 910-975-0274

Uwharrie Trail Meeting

Forest Service to Host Trail Strategy Meeting

TROY, N.C., Sept. 10, 2014 – The USDA Forest Service National Forests in North Carolina today announced that it will host a workshop on Sept. 18 to address management of non-motorized and motorized recreation trails across the Uwharrie National Forest. The meeting will be held 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Garner Center, 210 Burnette St., Troy, N.C.

Representatives from a wide range of trail-user groups, individuals who represent local communities and ecotourism, or individuals not represented by larger user groups are invited to collaborate in the process, which is expected to take up to a year to complete. The result will be recommendations for a comprehensive trail management plan for the Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina, along with a stronger community of volunteers to assist with these efforts.

The Forest Service initiated this process because use of forest trails in North Carolina is increasing every year. Resources used to maintain trails have been static or decreasing. The emphasis will be on high-quality experiences on sustainable trail systems. The trail strategy is the next step in implementing the Land and Resource Management Plan for the Uwharrie National Forest, which called for designated non-motorized and motorized trails.

With more than120 miles of system trails, the Uwharrie National Forest encompasses 50,000-plus acres in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Visit for more information.

Sierra Club-wide call on the EPA Clean Power Plan – Sept 10

Sierra Club Aim Higher

Greetings Sierra Club staff and volunteers! We are writing to invite you to a Sierra Club-wide call on the EPA Clean Power Plan, and to provide you with a couple of new resources to support your advocacy in the weeks ahead.
First, mark your calendars for a call Wednesday, Sept. 10. Join us at either 2:00pm or 8:00pm ET, whichever works best for your schedule, at the following number: 866-501-6174, code 107-397-1913. We’ll update you on the latest developments around the Clean Power Plan, share the work of some chapters and volunteers from around the country, and have policy experts on the line to answer your questions.
Second, below you’ll find three resources to support your advocacy on the Clean Power Plan:
  • One page fact sheet: An overview of the Clean Power Plan and the historic opportunity it creates for us to build a clean energy roadmap in all 50 states.
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ): Answers some of the questions that have been rolling in from staff and volunteers around the nation.
  • Strengthening document: An overview of our latest thinking on areas where the rule needs to be strengthened.
We’ll share an agenda for the call as the date gets closer – in the meantime, mark your calendars and keep sending along your needs and questions around the Clean Power Plan. And thanks for all your great work!
Mary Anne Hitt
Director, Beyond Coal Campaign
Sierra Club