NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – April 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

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As Earth Day approaches, we encourage you to celebrate North Carolina’s natural treasures by visiting one our state’s protected wilderness areas.  You don’t hear about it every day, but North Carolina has no less than twelve wilderness areas protecting 111,419 acres,  as well as five wilderness study areas that conserve an additional 25,816 acres.

It took many years and the hard work of countless volunteers to secure wilderness designation for these efforts.  Thanks to their efforts, in 2014, we can now celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the North Carolina WIlderness Act of 1984!

Please enjoy this edition of Footnotes that focuses on wilderness.  We hope it does justice to the history and provides inspiration for you to get outdoors and explore, enjoy, and protect these wild places! As John Muir once said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”

And there’s more than just wilderness covered below, so read on for information about coal ash events, a television series focusing on climate change, outings galore, and more!

Cheers,

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

 

Celebrate Wilderness In NC!

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act of 1984, the Wilderness Committee invites you to participate in the upcoming special Anniversary Year Wilderness events.

  • Save the DateJune 12, 5:30 – 8:00 pm – NC Wilderness Act 30th Anniversary Celebration – Raleigh, NC – Tickets available soon via OurWildNC.org.
  • Explore Our Wild NC Challenge – Participants who visit all 12 wilderness areas and 5 wilderness study areas in the state will receive a checklist of all of the areas and a ‘Wilderness Explorer’ patch as they begin the challenge. Click here for details.
  • Featured Wilderness Outing: Hawksbill and Table Rock Day Hike in the Linville Gorge Wilderness – Saturday, May 3 -  With pristine views of  Linville Gorge, Table Rock, Shortoff Mt. and Lake James, this is a hike worth joining.  Only a few spots are left.  Sign up today!

 

Volunteers Connecting Kids to Wilderness

In an age when children seem tethered to electronic devices and screens, the Chapter’s Wilderness Committee is hoping to put something young people’s hands, a bandana.  The committee received a grant to produce up to 600 bandannas to distribute to children across the state.  If you are wondering how a bandanna can help connect children to wilderness, well, then you likely haven’t seen the design yet.

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Designed by Avery Locklear, a volunteer from the Foothills group, and Jody Cedzidlo of Pittsboro, the bandanna’s creators hope to educate children about how our state’s wilderness came to be protected and encourage then to explore nature.

Volunteers worked together last Sunday to screen print the first round of bandannas that will be given away at the Celebration of the MIlitary Child Outdoors near Camp Onslow Beach on April 26.  Special thanks to Nancy Card, Kelly Mieszkalski, Pat Carstensen, Chris Bard, Miriam Chicurel-Bayard and Dustin Chicurel-Bayard for screen-printing the first run of this limited edition product.

Click here for more pictures of the mess made and the fun had during the screen-printing session.

 

Linville Gorge Wilderness

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act, each month we will highlight a wilderness area or a piece of history about how these areas became protected.  This month, we celebrate the Linville Gorge Wilderness.

Linville Gorge was first recognized as a “wild area” in 1951 by the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service.  John D. Rockefeller funded its early protection, then the area was officially designated as wilderness by the US Wilderness Act of 1964. The NC Wilderness Act of 1984 added 3,400 acres, bringing the total to 11,786 acres today. The gorge, which is often called the “Grand Canyon of North Carolina” is located in Burke County, about 14 miles northwest of Morganton, NC. It was named in honor of the early explorer, William Linville, who along with his son, John, was scalped by Cherokee Indians in 1766; but many of the area’s attributes are named from Cherokee legends too.

The wilderness boasts more than 20 hiking trails, 2,800 acres of roadless area, and, because the steep terrain prohibited clearcutting, acres of virgin forests can be still be enjoyed. Elevations range from 1,300 feet at the river to 4,120 atop Gingercake Mountain. Other outstanding features include Wiseman’s View, Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain.

Linville Gorge Wilderness is a favorite area for backpackers and rock climbers.  Fishermen come hoping to hook brown, brook or rainbow trout from the Linville River rushing along the toe of the gorge.  The area is also popular to wildlife including black bear, timber rattlers and peregrine falcons.

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And in case you missed it, Linville Gorge Wilderness is the host of this month’s featured wilderness outing on May 3!  Click here to claim one of the few remaining spots!

If you want to plan your own trip to Linville Gorge, here’s a link to the forest service page on the wilderness area.  You can also click here for a map that will help you explore the Gorge!

 

Coal Ash & You

We wish we could take all of April to celebrating wilderness areas, but our other important work continues!.  Surely you haven’t forgotten that nearly 40,000 tons of toxic coal ash burst into the Dan River this February.  The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal team is making sure that Duke stockholders haven’t forgotten either.

There are two events coming up where you can participate and show your desire to have the Dan River, and all of the toxic coal ash pits in our state cleaned up!  The events are listed below, but these aren’t the only chances you will have to speak up on the matter.  When the legislature reconvenes next month, your legislators need to hear from you.

Email our lead organizer, Zak Keith, at zachary.keith@sierraclub.org if you want to be a part of the Volunteer Lobby Corp that will work to push our legislators to act on cleaning up these toxic coal pits all across our state.

Then, join us to hold Duke Energy accountable!

 

April 30 – 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Candlelight Vigil to Remember the Impacts of Coal Ash – Charlotte, NC

Clergy from across the state to come to Charlotte on the eve of the Duke Energy shareholder meeting in a Light the Path Forward gathering, a candlelight vigil to remember the impacts of coal ash. Click here to RSVP on Facebook!

Location: New Duke Energy Headquarters, 550 South Tryon St., Charlotte, NC (map)

May 19:00 a.m. – Rally at Duke Energy Shareholders Meeting – Charlotte, NC

As shareholders of the country’s largest utility gather in Charlotte, concerned citizens with rally outside, demonstrating the public’s desire to move away from dirty energy and to embrace existing clean energy solutions.

Location: Old Duke Energy Headquarters, 526 S. Church St., Charlotte, NC (map)

Living Dangerously

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Hundreds gather at Highland Brewery in Asheville for the premiere of the Years of Living Dangerously.

On Sunday, April 13, the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign rolled out the green carpet and welcomed around 300 activists, artists, local elected officials, business owners and clergy to watch the first episode of Years of Living Dangerously, Showtime’s new documentary on climate change.

Several local elected officials also made an appearance, including State Representative Joe Sam Queen, City Council Member Gwen Wisler, and County Commissioner Brownie Newman who recently championed a resolution setting carbon reduction goals for Buncombe County.

Event hosts took the opportunity to highlight the connection between carbon emissions and climate change, and the rapidly growing campaign to retire the Asheville coal plant. Attendants signed petitions, signed up to come to the Duke Energy shareholders’ meeting, and joined the online conversation by tweeting at Duke Energy and posting on Facebook.

The Asheville Beyond Coal campaign will be featured as part of the “Preacher’s Daughter” episode that will be airing in early May.  Click here to watch WLOS’s news coverage of the event!

 

Upcoming Events

April 17 – 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – U.S. Forest Service Discussion on Wilderness and Special Designated Areas – Asheville, NC

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 this meeting. This public session is the latest in the three-phase, multi-year process of revising the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Management Plan.

The plan is expected to be completed by 2016, and 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 April 17 meeting will focus on:

  • Identification and inventory of areas that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.
  • The process for identifying special designated areas.
  • The Scenery Management System.

The six wilderness areas and five wilderness study areas being discussed make up about 9 percent of the Nantahala and Pisgah national forests.  Those include the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock, Southern Nantahala and Ellicott Rock wildernesses in Nantahala National Forest, and Shining Rock, Middle Prong and Linville Gorge in Pisgah National Forest.

For more information on the plan, or to comment, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/nfsnc/nprevision

To participate in the wilderness and/or designated areas discussion, RSVP to NCPlanRevision@fs.fed.us by Thursday.

Location: Crowne Plaza Resort, 1 Resort Drive, Asheville, NC (map)

 

April 25 -  2nd Annual Sustainability Summit: The Planet, People, Economy, & Community – Wilson, NC

This event is presented by Wilson Community College, Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, NC Sierra Club Medoc Chapter, and the Wilson Sustainable Community Council.

With a comprehensive agenda, and less than 100 tickets remaining, this year’s summit is surely going to be a hot event!  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the 2nd Annual Sustainability Summit. Click here to get your ticket today!

 

May 3-4 – Sierra Club Outings Leader Training – Sesquicentennial State Park, Columbia, SC

If you want to be a new Sierra Club Outings Leader, or if you want to renew or expand your current training, this training is for you!!!

Training will cover:

  • OLT101 – Basic outdoor leadership training and a requirement for all Sierra Club Outings Leaders that must be renewed every 4 years.
  • OLT201  – Advanced outdoor leadership training,  recommended for all leaders and required for any Outings Leader who wants to lead Level 2 outings (outings that are overnight and away from cars).
  • Watercraft Safety – Recommended for anyone who wants to lead canoe/kayak outings.
  • CPR/First Aid – Basic first aid is required for all Sierra Club Outings leaders and must be renewed every 4 years.

Open to all current Sierra Club members. Click here to sign up!

For more information, contact: Kelly Mieszkalski, North Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, (919) 624-2225 or kellymieszkalski@yahoo.com

 

Upcoming Outings

April 19- Grandfather Mountain Photography Workshop – Grandfather Mountain

Join the Sierra Club Foothills Group’s own award-winning 19-year old nature photographer, Avery Locklear, for a free outdoor photography workshop along the scenic Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park.  Ms. Locklear, who also serves as Vice Chair for the Foothills Group, will be sharing her expertise for capturing the mountainous landscapes and the rare flowers of springtime at Grandfather Mountain. Be sure to check out Avery’s nature and wildlife photography on her website: http://www.averylocklearphotography.com

This photo hike and workshop is open to photographers of all ages and is family-friendly. Bring a camera of any kind, a tripod if you have one, water, and lunch. Because the weather at Grandfather Mountain can vary a great deal, dress in layers and be sure to include a  wind-resistant outer layer. Advance registration is required; the event will be limited to 15 participants. To register, please contact Vance Parker by April 15, 2014 at vance@vparkerlaw.com or at (336) 768-0481 before 10:00 p.m.

 

April 19 – Devil’s Courthouse to Flat Laurel Creek Trail – Asheville area

This 6 mile hike offers some beautiful vistas in addition to the panoramic view from Devil’s Courthouse. Hiker’s will learn about the ravens which congregate on the rock outcrops along the trail, and learn to identify them. The Mountains to Sea section is rather rugged, with intermittent tree roots and 10″ steps/rocks. Makes good footwear essential, and may be hiking poles as well.

The group will do a loop from Black Balsam parking area to MST going to Devil’s Courthouse, then return via Little Sam Knob trail, which connects to the Flat Laurel Creek trail. From Devil’s Courthouse, there is view of mountains across two state lines if visibility is good. Meet in Asheville at 10:00 am and return around 5:30 p.m.

This hike is for experienced hikers only. RSVP to hike leader Lisa McWherter at lisamcw2@gmail.com or 828-713-4994.

 

April 19 – Discovering “The Poor Man’s Tarpon:” Shad Fishing on the Neuse River – Raleigh area

Learn about our native shad species, their habits and habitat, and enjoy an afternoon of shad fishing on the banks of the Neuse River. Called “the poor man’s tarpon” for their breaching, leaping, and tail-walking acrobatic performances, Shad fish are spawned in inland rivers and tributary creeks, migrate to the ocean to mature, and then return up river to spawn in their native streams. Our NC shad are sporty and historically important, a natural wonder right here at home, and a conservation success story.

Please note, this outing will be held on the Neuse River anywhere from Milburnie dam to Goldsboro, depending on where the latest fishing report indicates the shad are. Location will be announced before the outing. Most likely location Milburnie Dam.

Group size is limited to 6 people and participants need to have valid fishing license, rod and reel, and other items.  Click here to RSVP or for more information: http://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Capital-Group/

 

April 26- Discover Mountain Biking Adventure in the Great Smokey Mountains – Bryson City area

Join the Sierra Club and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), the Southeas’’s premiere outdoor adventure outfitter, for a big day of mountain biking in the Smoky Mountains.This full day instructional activity is a great introduction to the sport of mountain biking.  Get correctly fitted on your mountain bike and outfitted with the proper gear.  Then head up to the Flint Ridge trail system to learn the basic skills needed to enjoy the sport of mountain biking.  You will learn the basics in proper riding position, cornering, braking, shifting and riding skills.  After lunch you will head to Tsali National Recreation Area, the “Southeast’s mountain biking mecca”, to test out your newly acquired skills by riding one of 4 different loops.  This course emphasizes the sport of mountain biking, and enjoying the scenery and camaraderie of riding.  Please see:  http://www.noc.com/noccom/adventures/biking/mountain-biking/

The cost for this program, which includes one of NOC’s sturdy Specialized mountain bikes adjusted to the rider, a helmet, instruction, and a full day of riding is $119 per person.  The charge for participants with their own mountain bike is $79/person.  Camping will be available at Turkey Creek Campground near Tsali National Recreation Area on Friday night April 25th and Saturday night April 26th for $10/person plus $4/vehicle.  Guests may remain in the area Sunday for more mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, or zip lining conducted on their own.

This outing will be limited to 15 people with registration closing on April 12th, 2014.  Please register in advance of this date with Vance Parker, at e-mail vance@vparkerlaw.com or by telephone before 10:00 p.m. at 336-768-0481.

 

April 26- Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie National Forest – Montgomery County

Join Sierrans to test your beginner backpacking skills in the little known Uwharrie National Forest, less than 2 hours from the Triangle. Then group will cover about 12 miles over 2 days using the Uwharrie Trail and Dutchman’s Creek Trail..

Those who can will meet in Raleigh at 8:00 am for caravanning to the Wood Run Trailhead, where the group will set out on foot down the Uwharrie Trail. Participants will backpack approximately 6 miles on Saturday and set up camp along Big Island Creek. Sunday morning the will pack up and continue back to the trailhead on the Dutchman’s Creek Trail, about 6 miles.

 Group size for this trip is limited to 5 tents/15 people due to space restrictions of campsite. Please contact trip leaders at rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.

 

May 3 – Hawksbill and Table Rock Day Hike in the Linville Gorge Wilderness – Morganton area

This is the featured wilderness outing mentioned in the section above.  Please click here for more information or to RSVP.

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

What a Deal! – Sierra Club Outings Leader Training, May 4-5

I hope that folks realize what a great deal this is. All this training for just $30!  Can’t make the whole weekend? You can attend the section that you nee. Sign up NOW to reserve your space!

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Sierra Club Outings Leaders Training

General Schedule

Sesquicentennial State Park

May 3-4, 2014

 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM        Check-in/Welcome & Group Activity. (Art Seel) – SC Chapter Outings Chair

9:30 AM – 12:00 AM     (Basic) OLT 101 – Level 1 (Kelly Mieszkalski) – NC Chapter Outings Chair

12:00 AM – 12:30 PM   Lunch (Campsite)

I:00 PM – 3:00 PM          (Advanced) OLT 201 – Level 2 (Starr Hazard) – Lunz Group Chair

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM        (Advanced) OLT 201 – Level 2 (Continued)

6:00P M – 7:30 PM       Dinner (Local Restaurant).

7:30 PM – 8:30 PM        Conservation Through Outings (Al Graves) – Professor, Environmental Science

9:00 PM – Until?            Social Fellowship (Campsite).

 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM        Breakfast (Campsite)

10:00 AM – 12:00 AM   Boating Safety (Chris Hall/Starr Hazard).

12:30 PM – 1:00 PM      Lunch (Campsite).

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM        CPR/First Aid Training in Campsite. (Dan & Carolyn Wagner)

3:00 PM -                      Close Training/Take-down – Head for Home.

 

All OLT will take place in Group Campsite #5 area, which will also be the tent camping area. Parking will be nearby, in the main parking area. Campground restrooms, w/showers, are just a few feet away from Campsite #5. We will have electric power in the campsite to charge laptops and cellphones. Saturday night those who would like to go to a local restaurant for dinner with the group are welcome, or you may prefer to stay and cook on your own, in the campsite.

The full weekend of training includes OLT101, OLT201, Boat Safety, and CPR/Basic First Aid Training. OLT101 and Basic First Aid are REQUIRED FOR ALL SIERRA CLUB OUTINGS LEADERS and must be taken at least every 4 years. OLT201 is required for leaders who want to lead “level 2″ outings–overnight outings away from cars and only needs to be taken once. If you have any interest in leading canoe/kayak outings, you should definitely take the free Boat Safety training!

The cost for the full weekend of all training events is $30 and includes training materials, lunch on Saturday, breakfast and lunch on Sunday. We will be camping and the cost is $5 per night per person.

If you will not be signing up for the full weekend, please tell us for which parts you are signing up:   Not applicable/I’m taking the whole thing!

  • OLT101 ($10) Saturday AM
  • OLT201 ($15) Saturday PM
  • Boating Safety Training for canoe/kayak (free) Sunday AM
  • CPR/First Aid ($10) Sunday PM

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Trainers and Staff

Kelly Mieszkalski (NC Chapter Outings Chair) Level-1/ OLT 101 (Basic)

Bill Gupton (NC Chapter Vice-Chair) – Assisting with OLT 101

Starr Hazard (Robert Lunz Group Chair) Level-2/OLT 201 (Advanced)

Bill Turner (Robert Lunz Group) – Assisting with OLT 201

David Hutchens (Palmetto Paddlers) – Assisting with OLT 201

Al Graves (Professor, Environmental Science) – Conservation in Outings

Chris Hall (Western Carolina Group Chair) – Boating Safety Instruction

David Hutchens/ Starr Hazard – Assisting with Boating Safety

Dan & Carolyn Wagner – Instructors, CPR/First Aid Training

Dorothy Stafford/ Lynn Turbeville/Art Seel – Logistics & Food Preparation

Signs of Spring Outing – Ginger, Fiddleheads, Little Brown Jugs, Oh My!

Eleven hikers (12 if you count our four – legged friend) enjoyed searching for signs of Spring at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve  on Saturday.  Central Piedmont Outings Leader Linda Alley made sure we didn’t miss the best ones.  Bloodroot, violets, fiddlehead ferns and (look carefully), the little brown jug flowers of the wild ginger plant.  Sorry we couldn’t get a good shot of the big osprey nest on the power tower or its resident circling above us.

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Sign Up Today for the “Explore Our Wild North Carolina” Challenge!

Explore Our Wild North Carolina!
And Celebrate NC Wilderness All Year Long!

Explore Our Wild North Carolina!

Hopefully by now you know that 2014 is a big year for North Carolina wilderness! Not only is this the 50th anniversary of the US Wilderness Act, it is the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act, which would not have passed without the persistent efforts of NC Sierra Club leaders. We have developed a program to recognize folks who visit 9 out of 12 of our wilderness areas, plus the five study areas during 2014 through July 15, 2015. Sign up now and get a free Wilderness Explorer patch!

Visit our Website!

We have a beautiful new website packed with photos and information about our wilderness areas, the history, upcoming events and outings. For more information, or if you have photos or stories to share, please contact Nancy Card, OurWildNC@gmail.com

Save the Date!

We’re having a party! On Thursday, June 12, we’ll get together in the Triangle area to celebrate NC Wilderness areas and some of the folks who saved them for us to enjoy. More information coming soon!

 

Sierra Club and the Outdoors

Coming Clean: The blog of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

March 24, 2014

Finding Common Ground Outdoors

Michael Brune Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. View my blog.

Someone once said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Blogging about getting outdoors feels a bit like that. Part of me thinks that rather than writing 850 words about getting outdoors, I’d much rather be outdoors. And then part of me thinks that, rather than reading those 850 words, you might feel the same way!

But since we’re here, together, united by this glowing screen, let me share a few thoughts about Sierra Club Outdoors — which, every year, helps more than 250,000 people get their nature fix.

Getting outside has always been a big part of the Sierra Club, of course. The Club was started, after all, by a group of mostly city dwellers who wanted to explore and enjoy the great outdoors. Back in the 1890s, mind you, this was still a somewhat novel idea. Not so long before, most people still saw the great outdoors as something to escape from or stoically endure.

What those first Sierra Club members instinctively realized (with a little help from nature’s greatest evangelist, John Muir) was that in “escaping” the outdoors, people were also cutting themselves off from a key nutrient — like being deprived of an essential vitamin.

Today, of course, “nature deficit syndrome” is widely recognized for how it affects kids who grow up without access to outdoor experiences. We know that direct nature experiences shape the lives of young people, improve their self-esteem, raise their test scores, and help them lead healthier lives. That’s why one volunteer-run SC Outdoors program is specifically aimed at helping thousands of urban youth — kids who may have grown up 10 miles from the ocean without ever walking on a beach, for instance — experience the outdoors.

The lack of nature doesn’t affect only kids, though, and its benefits can help others, too.

Our Military Outdoors program, for instance, ensures that those who served our country, as well as their families, can enjoy the splendor of the land for which they’ve sacrificed. What Thoreau once called “the tonic of wildness” can do powerful things. At a minimum, outdoor experiences can provide military service members and their families with adventure, camaraderie, as sense of mission, or just a chance to relax and reconnect with one another.

Although we’re proud of our programs that serve some of the people who stand to benefit the most from getting outdoors, the Sierra Club was founded on the premise that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience wildness, regardless of where they live or what their economic circumstances might be. We make that happen in two ways. One is by working to ensure that we don’t focus only on iconic national parks or remote wilderness areas. Wonderful as those are, there’s also a need for local places that individuals or families can easily visit for a picnic or an hour-long stroll. We call such places “nearby nature,” and they are where many of our local outings happen.

The other way we make that happen is by having lots of outings in lots of places. Our volunteers lead more than 13,000 outings a year — and they happen in every state and U.S. territory. Every one of these events — whether it’s a short day hike or a backpacking trip through the High Sierra — happens because of a volunteer leader who loves the outdoors and wants to share that with other people.

As a result, no matter where you live, there’s probably a Sierra Club outing happening near you soon. Find out right now by visiting the SC Outdoors page on our website.

OK, now that you’ve found your next outing, I want to leave you with just a couple of more thoughts before you lace up your boots and hit the trail: I’m convinced that the programs that make up SC Outdoors are more than just an important part of the Sierra Club’s work — they are an essential part. How many great conservation victories have been achieved without the hard work of ordinary folks who didn’t want to see a place they loved destroyed? I can’t think of a single one. The strongest passion for protection springs from love. No wonder throughout our history so many of our greatest leaders, from John Muir onward, have found their way to the Club through their love of the natural world.

It goes even deeper than that, though. Spending time outdoors can be personally healing, but it’s also something that can bring people together, regardless of differing backgrounds, political beliefs, or experience. In nature, we have an opportunity to connect with people on a different level — and to find common ground at a time when so many other forces are working to push us apart. Nature helps us restore our funds of hope, cooperation, and optimism — and we can’t have too much of any of those, whether we’re fighting to save an Arctic wilderness or working to replace a dirty power plant with clean, renewable energy.

So come outdoors with us. You won’t be sorry you did.

NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – March 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

Before long, 55 days to be exact, the 2014 session of the legislature will convene in Raleigh.

But please don’t wait until May 14 to ask your legislator to take action to close down Duke Energy’s unlined coal ash ponds that are threatening our state’s rivers and groundwater!

Whether you’ve never met your state legislator in before, or if you’ve  known him or her all your life –  now is the time to talk coal ash. Calls, email and personal  meetings with legislators to rally support for a ban on wet coal ash ponds is urgently needed. To get involved with the Sierra Club’s Volunteer Lobby Corps, please contact chapter organizer Zak Keith (zak.keith@sierraclub.org).

But the Sierra Club isn’t only about protecting our natural resources–it’s also all about promoting and exploring them.

Much of this March newsletter is dedicated to North Carolina’s wilderness areas. There’s a contest for folks who want to visit all of the wilderness areas in North Carolina. We also have tons of outings coming up for you to join.   Four of them are coming up this Saturday!

We hope you enjoy this issue of Footnotes, and are getting geared up for an action packed year ahead of us!

With warm wishes,

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

Coal Ash Update

You know the basics by now.  Nearly 40,000 tons of coal ash ran into the Dan River last month. Since then, the news has been changing every day.  That’s why we have a Coal Ash Updates page on our website.

To stay current on the latest from news outlets all over the country about what’s happening right here in our back yard,  bookmark the Coal Ash Updates page, and you will always have the most recent news on the coal ash spill!

What’s in Your Lake?

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You likely remember that the state legislature froze protections for Jordan Lake last year. The Jordan Lake Rules were adopted in 2009 in an effort to clean up the lake, which is a popular recreation destination and a source of drinking water for 300,000 people. Last year, those clean-up rules were delayed for three years and, instead, the legislature directed nearly $2 million in taxpayer funds to a pilot project to lease 36 floating water mixers. Meanwhile, developers will get a three year reprieve from having to control the runoff that is plaguing the Lake.

Click here to tell the Army Corps of Engineers to protect Jordan Lake.

The Army Corps of Engineers? Yes. The Corps has the final say in whether or not the water mixers can go into the lake There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about the water mixers in Jordan Lake.

Click here to read about some of the reasons that replacing the long negotiated Jordan Lake Rules with water mixers is a bad idea. And then send your thoughts on to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Calling All Politicos (For Members Only!)

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Don’t miss this opportunity to deepen your knowledge and learn from the best.  Join Chapter Political Committee Chair Harry Johnson & former chair Ken Brame as they cover the basics of the Sierra Club Political Committee and get you ready for the ever exciting political season ahead. The training will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in Greensboro. Registration is required (but it’s also free).

The meeting is for Sierra Club members who want to participate in this year’s elections on any level. Topics for the day include: an overview of the political landscape, introduction to the endorsement process, building a local political committee, managing a volunteer field campaign, and more!

Click here to register today to make sure you are prepared to make a difference in this year’s political campaigns in your community!

Are You Up for the Challenge? Get Ready to Explore Our Wild NC

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This time of year, Sierrans are ready for winter to be over and outdoor adventures to begin in earnest.  This year, they are in for a treat.  The Wilderness Committee has announced the Explore Our Wild NC Challenge. The only question is: are you up for it?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NC Wilderness Act and to increase awareness about our state’s 12 wilderness areas and 5 study areas, the NC Sierra Club is offering a certificate and limited edition patch to anyone who visits all of these areas.

We cannot think of a better way to experience our state than getting outdoors and exploring every one of its true wilderness areas. Click here if you want more information or have already decided that you want to register for the challenge.

Wilderness Study Areas

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the North Carolina Wilderness Act, each month we will highlight a wilderness area or a piece of history about how these areas became protected.  This month, we celebrate the Wilderness Study Areas in our state.

Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) share many of the same characteristics of designated Wilderness Areas but have not yet received full designation by the US Congress.  There are five WSAs protected by the US Forest Service in North Carolina.

In Nantahala National Forest we have Overflow Creek and Snowbird. In Pisgah National Forest, we have Harper Creek, Lost Cove and Craggy Mountain totaling 25,816 acres.  Most were set aside by the NC Wilderness Act of 1984 and have since been recommended for wilderness designation, however some have been threatened with declassification.

These areas could potentially be impacted through the comprehensive revision to the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests’ Land Management Plan which is currently underway.  Please see these documents which were released earlier this week for more information about the revision plan: Scoping Letter from the US Department of Agriculture and An Explanation of the Need to Change the Plan.

Many Wilderness Study Areas were first identified by the Forest Service’s Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE) of 1972 and the RARE II report of 1979, which was more thorough.  Although restrictions for usage are less stringent, WSAs are intended to receive the same protection from development as Wilderness Areas until such time as Congress decides to take action.

Click here to learn more about these study areas. Maybe then you can start planning your next hiking trip!

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Featured Wilderness Outing!

April 5 – Harper Creek Waterfalls in Harper Creek and Lost Cove Study Areas

This hike is part of the Our Wild North Carolina Celebration!  This is an easy day hike about 7 miles total. The falls are about 200 feet high and are in the Wilderness Study Area which is nestled in the adjacent areas of Avery, Burke and Caldwell Counties. Aside from the falls, the study areas are a regular nesting site for Peregrine falcons.

You will need to bring lunch, water, and rain gear. For more information call Joel Wooten at 336-466-1314 before 9:00 pm at or email him at joeltotopmountain@gmail.com.  Wilderness outings are limited to 10 hikers.

Inner City Outings Program

barber-hike.jpgKaran Barber, Charlotte ICO Chair, leads a recent outing.

Charlotte Inner City Outings officially announced the launch of a new program to connect area youth with nature. Inner City Outings (ICO), is a community outreach program of the Sierra Club that seeks to provide urban youth and adults with positive outdoor experiences. The goal of Charlotte ICO is to allow participants to discover the beauty of wild places and learn how to enjoy and protect our wild environments.

The Charlotte ICO Group will work with local agencies and community centers to lead hikes and other outings. The program is made possible by its volunteers who give generously of their time and skills to participate in training, receive first aid education, and lead outings. All ICO volunteer leaders undergo special training and screening to work with youth.

Individuals, agencies, and organizations that are interested in supporting or participating in Charlotte ICO should contact Karan Barber at Karan@e-corps.org or (704) 588-3297. The only experience required is a passion to share enthusiasm for kids, teaching, the outdoors, and having fun.

For more information see the Charlotte ICO website, http://charlottesierraclub.org/outings/inner-city-outings/, and the Sierra Club ICO Website, http://content.sierraclub.org/outings/ico.

Upcoming Events

April 25 -  2nd Annual Sustainability Summit: The Planet, People, Economy, & Community – Wilson, NC

This event is presented by Wilson Community College, Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, NC Sierra Club Medoc Chapter, and the Wilson Sustainable Community Council.

With a comprehensive agenda, and less than 100 tickets remaining, this year’s summit is surely going to be a hot event!  Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the 2nd Annual Sustainability Summit. Click here to get your ticket today!

May 3-4 – Sierra Club Outings Leader Training – Sesquicentennial State Park, Columbia, SC

If you want to be a new Sierra Club Outings Leader, or if you want to renew or expand your current training, this training is for you!!!!

Training will cover:

  • OLT101 – Basic outdoor leadership training and a requirement for all Sierra Club Outings Leaders that must be renewed every 4 years.
  • OLT201  – Advanced outdoor leadership training,  recommended for all leaders and required for any Outings Leader who wants to lead Level 2 outings (outings that are overnight and away from cars).
  • Watercraft Safety – Recommended for anyone who wants to lead canoe/kayak outings.
  • CPR/First Aid – Basic first aid is required for all Sierra Club Outings leaders and must be renewed every 4 years.

Open to all current Sierra Club members. Click here to sign up!

For more information, contact: Kelly Mieszkalski, North Carolina Chapter Outings Chair, (919) 624-2225 or kellymieszkalski@yahoo.com

Upcoming Outings

March 22 – 8:00 a.m. – Guided Bird Walk at Sandy Creek Park – Durham

As part of Durham’s Annual Creek Week celebration activities, the Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club will be hosting a guided bird walk around Sandy Creek. The terrain is rather flat but may be a bit wet in spots–please wear closed toed shoes and bring your camera and binoculars! You will be able to share binoculars if you don’t have your own, so don’t let that keep you from coming!

Led by two wonderful bird guides, there will be two smaller groups walking around the park. The guides are Brian Bockhahn, a State Park Education Ranger, and Robert Meehan, a local expert birder. All attendees (at all Creek Week events) will get a raffle ticket to win one of two Ivy Rain Barrels, courtesy of the City of Durham.

This outing is limited to 24 participants. Click here to RSVP via our Meetup. You may also RSVP by contacting Kelly at kellymieszkalski@yahoo.com (or 919.624.2225).

March 22 – 9:00 a.m. – Cook’s Wall Loop, Hanging Rock State Park – Hanging Rock

The hike will begin on the Hanging Rock trail but leave it to ascend the ridge line to Wolf Rock, on to House Rock and Cook’s Wall, and return via Magnolia Springs trail and the lake. Major views will be enhanced along the way by the bare trees. Hike length is about 6.5 miles with a 500 feet elevation gain.

Bring water, lunch, rain gear and wear hiking footwear. For more information contact Tom Mann at  twmann@bellsouth.net or 336-760-0265 (before 9:00 p.m.).

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. – Backpacking Conditioning in Umstead – Raleigh

Join Sierrans for a backpacking conditioning hike to test your trail legs! The group will cover about 6 miles in 3 hours using a combination of trails and old fire roads. Along the way folks will talk about the gear in your backpack and best practices for minimizing the load.

Meet in the Reedy Creek parking lot in back right corner by 9:45 am. Look for the orange Honda Element with LOTS of stickers on the back. The entrance is located off I-40 at exit 287. Map to parking lot: http://goo.gl/maps/VcigC

Group size is limited to 15 to minimize impact on the ecosystem. Please contact trip leaders, Debra & Jeff Rezeli, at rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.

March 22 – 10:00 a.m. – Green River Gamelands – Pullium Creek Trail – near Asheville

This hike is moderate with some easy level of difficulty. The trip will be approximately 6.5 miles round-trip on this there & back trail with elevation gain of 900 ft. The group will meet in Asheville at 10 am and return about 5:45 p.m.. It’s a beautiful trail that ends up at the Green River just below the narrows, with rapids moving through large boulders. On the way, there’s a tedious creek crossing with wiggly step-stones, so wear good footwear and consider a hiking pole. Plan to learn about the beautiful early-blooming wildflowers there as well.

NOTE: Sorry, no doggies this trip due to Pullium Creek crossing. Hike leader Lisa McWherter at lisamcw2@gmail.com or 828-713-4994.

April 5 – Harper Creek Waterfalls in Harper Creek and Lost Cove Study Areas

This hike is part of the Our Wild North Carolina Celebration!  This is an easy day hike about 7 miles total. The falls are about 200 feet high and are in the Wilderness Study Area which is nestled in the adjacent areas of Avery, Burke and Caldwell Counties. Aside from the falls, the study areas are a regular nesting site for Peregrine falcons.

You will need to bring lunch, water, and rain gear. For more information call Joel Wooten at 336-466-1314 before 9:00 pm at or email him at joeltotopmountain@gmail.com.  Wilderness outings are limited to 10 hikers.

April 19- Grandfather Mountain Photography Workshop – Grandfather Mountain

Join the Sierra Club Foothills Group’s own award-winning 19-year old nature photographer, Avery Locklear, for a free outdoor photography workshop along the scenic Profile Trail at Grandfather Mountain State Park.  Ms. Locklear, who also serves as Vice Chair for the Foothills Group, will be sharing her expertise for capturing the mountainous landscapes and the rare flowers of springtime at Grandfather Mountain. Be sure to check out Avery’s nature and wildlife photography on her website: http://www.averylocklearphotography.com

This photo hike and workshop is open to photographers of all ages and is family-friendly. Bring a camera of any kind, a tripod if you have one, water, and lunch. Because the weather at Grandfather Mountain can vary a great deal, dress in layers and be sure to include a  wind-resistant outer layer. Advance registration is required; the event will be limited to 15 participants. To register, please contact Vance Parker by April 15, 2014 at vance@vparkerlaw.com or at (336) 768-0481 before 10:00 p.m.

April 26- Discover Mountain Biking Adventure in the Great Smokey Mountains – Bryson City area

Join the Sierra Club and the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), the Southeast’s premiere outdoor adventure outfitter, for a big day of mountain biking in the Smoky Mountains. This full day instructional activity is a great introduction to the sport of mountain biking. Get correctly fitted on your mountain bike and outfitted with the proper gear. Then head up to the Flint Ridge trail system to learn the basic skills needed to enjoy the sport of mountain biking. You will learn the basics in proper riding position, cornering, braking, shifting and riding skills.After lunch you will head to Tsali National Recreation Area, the “Southeast’s mountain biking mecca”, to test out your newly acquired skills by riding one of 4 different loops.  This course emphasizes the sport of mountain biking, and enjoying the scenery and camaraderie of riding. Please see:  http://www.noc.com/noccom/adventures/biking/mountain-biking/

The cost for this program, which includes one of NOC’s sturdy Specialized mountain bikes adjusted to the rider, a helmet, instruction, and a full day of riding is $119 per person.  The charge for participants with their own mountain bike is $79/person.  Camping will be available at Turkey Creek Campground near Tsali National Recreation Area on Friday night April 25th and Saturday night April 26th for $10/person plus $4/vehicle.  Guests may remain in the area Sunday for more mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, or zip lining conducted on their own.

This outing will be limited to 15 people with registration closing on April 12th, 2014.  Please register in advance of this date with Vance Parker, at e-mail vance@vparkerlaw.com or by telephone before 10:00 p.m. at 336-768-0481.

April 26- Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie National Forest – Montgomery County

Join Sierrans to test your beginner backpacking skills in the little known Uwharrie National Forest, less than 2 hours from the Triangle. Then group will cover about 12 miles over 2 days using the Uwharrie Trail and Dutchman’s Creek Trail..

Those who can will meet in Raleigh at 8:00 am for caravaning to the Wood Run Trailhead, where the group will set out on foot down the Uwharrie Trail. Participants will backpack approximately 6 miles on Saturday and set up camp along Big Island Creek. Sunday morning the will pack up and continue back to the trailhead on the Dutchman’s Creek Trail, about 6 miles.

Group size for this trip is limited to 5 tents/15 people due to space restrictions of campsite. Please contact trip leaders at rezeli@bellsouth.net or 919-971-3788 for more information.

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Did you know you can make a monthly gift to the NC Sierra Club? Find out how you can make a sustaining gift by visiting our website, or contacting the Chapter office at 919-833-8467.

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Announcing Charlotte Inner City Outings Program to Connect Youth With Nature

It’s official and we’re looking for Inner City Outings (ICO) leaders, volunteers and supporters! If you or some of your friends would like to support this great program, please contact Karan.

Do you have backpacking or outing gear sitting in the closet that you would like to donate? Karan is looking to set up a “Gear Locker” so clean out that closet and put that gear to work!.

Please join me in wishing Karan and the Charlotte ICO team a great beginning!
ICO LogoMarch 17, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Charlotte Inner City Outings Program to Connect Youth With Nature

Charlotte, NC. Today, March 17, 2014, Charlotte Inner City Outings officially announced the launch of a new program to connect area youth with nature. Inner City Outings (ICO), is a community outreach program of the Sierra Club that seeks to provide urban youth and adults with positive outdoor experiences. The goal of Charlotte ICO is to allow participants to discover the beauty of wild places and learn how to enjoy and protect our wild environments. Programs like Inner City Outings help to enhance youth self-image, deal with the growing problem of too much screen time and childhood obesity, and develop community stewardship by “igniting student’s interest in the outdoors”.

Karan Barber, Charlotte ICO Chair, brings an enthusiasm and a wealth of experience to share with the community, “We’re excited to bring the Inner City Outings program to Charlotte. While we have some wonderful natural settings in the area, too many of our youth suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder. We want to get them off the couch and active in discovering their natural world”.

The Charlotte ICO Group will work with local agencies and community centers to lead hikes and other outings. The program is made possible by its volunteers who give generously of their time and skills to participate in training, receive first aid education, and lead outings. All ICO volunteer leaders undergo special training and screening to work with youth.

The first Inner City Outings took place in 1971 in San Francisco. Since then, this Sierra Club program has spread all across the country, helping youth, who normally wouldn’t have the chance to explore and care for the great outdoors. Individuals, agencies, and organizations that are interested in supporting or participating in Charlotte ICO should contact Karan Barber at Karan@e-corps.org or

(704) 588-3297. The only experience required is a passion to share enthusiasm for kids, teaching, the outdoors, and having fun.

For more information see the Charlotte ICO website, http://charlottesierraclub.org/outings/inner-city-outings/, and the Sierra Club ICO Website, http://content.sierraclub.org/outings/ico.

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Karan BarberKaran Barber, Charlotte ICO Chair

Barber HikeKaran leading a recent Charlotte ICO outing

Get Outside in Mecklenburg County!

Spring Get Going Guide Now Available Online

Spring is right around the corner! Now is the time to register for programs offered by your Park and Recreation Department occurring from March until May.

Programs and events are offered for all ages at recreation centers, aquatic facilities and nature centers.

The spring guide also includes information on 2014 Park and Recreation  summer camps.

For details, visit www.parkandrec.com and check out the

Get Going Spring 2014Spring 2014 Get Going Guide.