NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – February 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

After two weeks of the news being dominated by severe winter weather and an historic coal ash spill, most of North Carolina is getting back to normal.  The snow is gone– but the coal ash is not.  For the Dan River, with heavy metals and toxics deposited along 70 miles of river bottom, it may be years before things return to the way they were. In fact, they may never.

More than any event in recent years, the coal ash spill on the Dan River highlights the cost of coal. And that cost is compounded when the Governor and the legislature don’t do their jobs.  It is our job to hold them accountable.

We have an update for you below on the Dan River spill.  But along with cleaning up the river, the question is how we can speed up the movement away from the dirty energy that produces toxic coal ash, dirty air, and poisons in our water.

For the rest of this year, we will be focused on actions we can take to put our state back on track for a future that values clean water, adequate safeguards and full enforcement of the Clean Water Act.


Your staff at the North Carolina Sierra Club

The Dan River Spill

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As you know by now, somewhere between 30,000 and 82,000 tons of toxic coal ash spilled into the Dan River in Eden, NC on February 2.  Please send a message to Duke Energy demanding that they remove coal ash from all their lagoons in North Carolina, so that this never happens again! Click here to send your message to Duke Energy!

With so much happening around the third largest coal ash spill in the nation’s history, we thought a brief overview might be helpful:

The Dan River tragedy is the third largest coal ash spill in our nation’s history. The only way we can make sure that this never happens again is to make Duke Energy move its toxic coal ash ponds away from the banks of our state’s waterways and into lined landfills away from rivers and lakes.

Click here to ask Duke Energy to prevent future disasters by cleaning up its toxic coal ash ponds.

Moving On: Clean Energy Around the Corner


The consequences of dirty energy to public health, our air and water, and our climate are clear.  The dirty legacy of burning coal was known before the Dan River ran gray with toxic chemicals.  But we do not have to be shackled to this dirty system.

The shift to clean energy in North Carolina is  underway, but it will take the efforts of citizens across the state to achieve a clean energy future.

An effort by coastal North Carolina residents aims to educate the public about the potential benefits that wind power could bring to the eastern part of the state.  Wind power can mean jobs, investment, and tourism  – things that the Carolina coastal region needs and deserves.

Take a moment to learn about the local effort to bring on-shore wind to the Carolina coast by visiting

Our Wild North Carolina

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 Birkhead Mountains Wilderness Area.


The Uwharrie Mountains formed over 500 million years ago and are among the oldest mountain ranges in the world. At the northernmost tip of the Uwharries, 5,160 acres was set aside as the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness by the North Carolina Wilderness Act of 1984.

The wilderness got its name from the Birkhead family which settled on the land in the 1800s, but long before they arrived, the area was inhabited by Native Americans.  Relics found here date back 12,000 years. During the early 1800s prospectors came in search of gold.  Mines can still be found along with the remains of homesteads and farms throughout these hills.  The highest peak in the wilderness is Cedar Rock Mountain at 950 feet.

Like most of North Carolina’s designated wilderness, the area is managed by the US Forest Service.  But for the work of Sierrans in the 1970′s and 1980′s, this area would not be protected. If you are looking for a way to enjoy this wilderness area, Henry Fansler is leading a hike through Birkhead. Doesn’t that seem like a good idea?

  • Foothills Group Outings Chair, Henry Fansler, will lead the first wilderness area hike of the year on the Birkhead Mountain Trail on Saturday, February 22.  The hike will cover around five miles and is rated easy to moderate.  If you’d like to go, contact Henry at or 336-473-0283.  Visits to all NC designated wilderness areas are limited to 10 participants. Reserve your spot today!

Our Wild North Carolina Wilderness Areas Challenge

To celebrate the anniversaries of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the NC Wilderness Act of 1984, the Wilderness Committee of the NC Sierra Club has issued a challenge that will recognize anyone who visits all 12 of our state’s wilderness areas and documents it.

The program will provide certification and an award to all participants who register and visit all of our wilderness areas within the year.  Additional details and registration information will be available shortly.  For now, be sure to snap and save a photo of yourself with the official Wilderness Area sign.

Check out the list of wilderness areas below and start planning your trips today!

Happy Hiking!


Outings & Events

February 19 – 7:00 p.m. – Capital Group Meeting & Film Screening – Raleigh, NC

The Capital group will screen the new documentary film, “A Fierce Green Fire” which spans 50 years of grassroots and global activism. The Sundance documentary brings to light vital stories of the environmental movement where people fought – and succeeded – against enormous odds. From the Academy Award-nominated director of “Berkeley in the Sixties,” the film features Lois Gibbs, Paul Watson, Bill McKibben, Paul Hawken, Carl Pope, John Adams, Bob Bullard, Amory Lovins, Barbara Bramble, Jennifer Morgan and more.  Screening followed by Q&A with the Director Mark Kitchell.

Doors open 6:30 p.m., meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.. Location: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, 3313 Wade Avenue, Raleigh, NC (map)

February 22 – 10:30 a.m. – Hike at Rattlesnake Lodge – Asheville, NC

This hike is approximately 5.2 miles round-trip. The group will start at Ox Creek Rd and stay mostly on Mountains-to-Sea trail, then on to the Main Reservoir trail. Plan to learn about the interesting remains from the old Rattlesnake Lodge, which burned down in 1926. It’s a nice place to stop for lunch, too. Wear good footwear and bundle up. Please email or write hike leader if you’d like to bring your well-behaved dog – who must be on leash at all times. Meet at 10:30 a.m. in Asheville, back around 4:30 p.m. Contact hike leader to sign up. Lisa McWherter at, or call 828-713-4994.

February 23 – 1:00 p.m. – NC Botanical Gardens, Piedmont Nature Trails Discovery Hike – Chapel Hill, NC

Join Sierrans  for an easy 1 ½ mile educational hike at the NC Botanical Gardens located on Mason Farm Road just off the 15-501 bypass near the UNC campus.  Behind the Education Center is an 88-acre area known as the Piedmont Nature Trails. Opened to the public in 1966, the trails provide over two miles of hiking through a typical central North Carolina forest. The group will see a variety of flora and learn about the impact of nearby development on natural areas. Trails are well-groomed with no steep elevation changes.  Afterwards, we will visit the Educational Center and adjacent Exposition Gardens, both open until 5 p.m. (free admission).

Group size is limited to 12 participants ages 16 and up. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Sorry, no pets. Click here for more information.

March 1 -  Behind The Scenes Tour Carolina Raptors Center – Huntersville, NC

Join the Sierra Club Foothills Group as we learn about birds of prey. We will travel to the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, NC (near Charlotte) where we will observe 25 different raptor species. We will walk the Raptor Trail, watch the Live Bird demonstration, witness the Vulture Feeding, eat a picnic lunch, and learn about the Center’s efforts rehabilitating and releasing over 800 raptors each year in our special Behind-The-Scenes Tour. This Sierra Club outing is family-friendly.

Please pack your own lunch; food is not available on site. An admission ticket at the entrance is required, plus an additional $5 for the Behind-The-Scenes Tour. Admission fees are as follows: $10 adults; $8 Seniors 65 and over, military, and educators with valid ID; $6 students, including college students with a valid ID; kids 4 and under free. Contact Vance Parker, or at (336) 768-0481 before 10:00 p.m. to register. 15 person limit, reservation deadline is February 22, 2014.

March 3 – 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. – Orange Chatham Group Meeting & Program on the NC Solar Revolution -  Chapel Hill, NC

Even though solar power generation in North Carolina is expanding very fast, not everyone is happy about this new world of distributed energy generation. The biggest power company in the nation, Duke Energy, is putting its considerable lobbying efforts into changing the “net metering” law which allows homeowners who generate more electricity than they use to sell it back to the utility at a guaranteed price.  Guests Michael Youth from the NC Sustainable Energy Association and Dustin Chicurel-Bayard from the  NC Sierra Club will discuss solar policies in North Carolina.  Location: Chapel Hill Public Library, 100 Library Dr, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 (map)

Saturday, March 8 - 10:00 a.m. – Neusiok Trail in Croatan National Forest – Craven County

The Neusiok trail, one of the most scenic trails in eastern North Carolina and part of the developing Mountain-to-Sea trail, meanders over 20 miles in the eastern portion of the Croatan National Forest from Pine Cliff Recreation Area on the shore of the Neuse River to Oyster Point in the salt marshes of the Newport River. The group will hike about six miles of the northernmost section of the trail, which winds through pine/hardwood upland forest, cypress/palmetto swamp and ends along the sandy shoreline of the Neuse River. The trail is moderate in difficulty. Bring a lunch and drinking water. There are often muddy sections, so wear water resistant shoes and other appropriate clothing for weather conditions. Arrive in the Parking Lot of Pine Cliffs Recreation Area no later than 10:00 a.m..

The hike will begin at the trailhead on Minnesott Ferry Road and end along the beach at the Pinecliff Recreation Area. For more information or to register for the trip, contact Robert Scull at 636-5506 or at

March 16 – 1:00 p.m. -  Salem Creek in History and Today – Winston-Salem, NC

The outing is an activity of Forsyth County Creek Week co-presented by Gateway Environmental Initiative GEI and Old Salem Museum & Gardens.  We’ll tour areas where the Moravians used Salem Creek to sustain their lives, and then see how the stream is faring today.  Meet at the parking lot next to the tennis courts near the Salem Avenue roundabout.  Learn more about Forsyth Creek at

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

The group 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, 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, or 760-0265 (between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.).

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

This hike’s difficulty level is rated moderate to easy. The trip length is approximately  6.5 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 900 ft. The group will meet in Asheville at 10:00 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. Contact hike leader Lisa McWherter at or (828) 713-4994 to reserve your spot.

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

Join our outings leaders for a backpacking conditioning hike to test your trail legs! We will cover about 6 miles in 3 hours using a combination of trails and old fire roads. Along the way we’ll 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 a.m. 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: Group size is limited to 15 to minimize impact on the ecosystem.  And don’t miss the Beginner Backpacking in Uwharrie on April 26-27.

Please contact trip leaders, Debra & Jeff Rezeli, at or 919-971-3788 for more information.  Register for this event here:

* Start the New Year off Right – Sierra Club Monthly Meeting Tonight, 1/22 at 6:30PM

Green 2014

2014 is going to be an exciting year for the Sierra Club! Join us tonight to hear about our Celebrating 50 Years of Wilderness plans, key conservation goals, our outings and special events programs, important political issues, and much, much more.

We also have a great program planed. We’ll be looking at how can we move North Carolina and the greater Charlotte area Beyond Coal and to a Clean Energy Future? What’s up with Duke Energy and their long term plans for dirty energy, clean energy, and energy efficiency? What can be done to Solarize Charlotte?

Join us on Wednesday, January 22, as we welcome Sierra Club NC Beyond Coal campaign representative Emma Greenbaum for an update of our NC Beyond Coal Campaign, an interactive Q&A, and a planning session to go all in to “Move NC Beyond Coal to Clean Energy”. There will also be updates on the latest conservation and political issues, new outings for the coming month, and exciting ways to be active in the Sierra Club. Don’t miss this this first monthly meeting of 2014!

Our meeting starts off at 6:30 PM with pizza, refreshments and a chance to meet and socialize with other Sierra Club members and friends. The business meeting and program will begin at 7:00 PM. Non-members and potential new members are very welcome!

Central Piedmont Sierra Club meetings are held in the Mahlon Adams Pavilion at Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Avenue, Charlotte, NC, 28203. Cumberland Avenue is off of the 1500 block of East Boulevard.

The program is free and open to the public and you do not have to be a member to attend.

Free parking is available.

Bring a friend or two; you’ll be glad you did! See you there

* Sierra Club Outing – Fun at Crowders Mountain

We had a VERY nice hike at Crowders Mountain State Park on Saturday, Jan 18. Ten people turned out on a chilly but sunny day, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Linda Alley and I led this hike and we are talking about doing a hike at Linville Gorge next. If you’re interested in this outing, email me at David Underwood.

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P.S. Be a part of our 2014 Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act! Join our Wilderness Celebration Team! Contact Central Piedmont Outings Chair Tim Slape for more information.

* Join Our Wilderness Celebration Team!

Be a part of our 2014 Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act! Join our Wilderness Celebration Team! Contact Central Piedmont Outings Chair Tim Slape for more information.

Sierra Club 50 Wilderness

Sierra Club Outings celebrate the 50th anniversary of Wilderness

On September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act.  This historic bill established the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and set aside an initial 9.1 million acres of wild lands for the use and benefit of the American people.

The Wilderness Act will turn 50 on September 3, 2014, and Sierra Club, other wilderness groups, and the four federal wilderness managing agencies are organizing for a whole year’s worth of celebrations around the country to mark this major American cultural and environmental achievement–and to educate a broader public about the concept and benefits of wilderness.

The 1964 Wilderness Act defines “Wilderness” as areas where “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man,” with untrammeled meaning left wild and free from human control or manipulation. Wilderness designation provides the strongest and most permanent protection that our laws offer for Wilderness values such as adventure, solitude, clean air and water, scenery, wildlife, and scientific understanding of how the natural world works when left alone. Wilderness areas include wild places in national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and western lands of the Bureau of Land Management.

The Wilderness Act declared it to be the policy of our nation to “to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness” and established our National Wilderness Preservation System. The initial 9.1 million acres set aside in 1964 –in 54 national forest areas in 13 states — have now grown to more than 100 million acres nationwide with 757 areas totaling about 109 million acres in 44 states.  Only Congress can designate wilderness—by law – and it was the voices of Americans that convinced Congress over the past 50 years to pass laws preserving many more lands as wilderness — with more to come. Sierra Club volunteers, and staff have been prominent in virtually all wilderness campaign over the years, and our outings program has helped acquaint many people with the values of wild lands deserving preservation.

While Sierra Club began long before the Wilderness Act was signed, the basic principles underlying the Act are also the founding principles of the Sierra Club. From the beginning, Club leaders and members organized to preserve special natural places from the impacts of human development.  And Sierra Club has played a big role in the national wilderness effort from the start.  From 1949 through 1975 the Sierra Club hosted a series of 14 biennial wilderness conferences to discuss and determine how best to respond to the urgently felt need for permanent, legislated preservation of wild places. The need became clear after World War II.  As Americans enjoyed new affluence and leisure, the agencies often bowed to the pressures of more demands for lumber and more places to recreate; administrative set asides for wild lands failed, and wilderness advocates realized that permanent, preservation by law was needed. The Club worked hard on getting the original 1964 bill passed and has been promoting preservation of wild places ever since.

The Sierra Club’s outings program has long been in the forefront of drawing attention to protected places and places that need to be saved from development. We take people out to the places that need advocates.  From John Muir on, we have known that people will speak up for the places they care about – and taking them there is a powerful way to get them to care. Sierra Club outings leaders and participants are among the most passionate supporters of keeping wild places reserved for nature. During 2014 all Sierra Club outings – whether national, international, Chapter or Group, will be part of our celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by featuring a wilderness celebration theme. Our local outings around the country have the best potential to reach out to the public beyond our own members – especially by seeking to include young people and diverse communities.

Uniquely American, wilderness is a great social and environmental achievement in which our nation agrees to restrain in special wild places the normal trend toward development – so that nature can dominate here—forever.

For more information check back frequently on our 50 Years of Wilderness webpage.

Be a part of our 2014 Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act! Join our Wilderness Celebration Team! Contact Central Piedmont Outings Chair Tim Slape for more information.

* NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – January 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

For some, January is a time to hibernate from the cold and ease slowly into the new year. Again, that’s true for some folks, but certainly not for Sierrans.

2014’s first edition of Footnotes online is full of events, outings, and meetings to add to your calendar.  Sierrans are hard at work and determined to make sure that 2014 means more exploring, enjoying, and protecting special places in North Carolina.  The only question is: are you ready to join us?

We hope so.


Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

Local Group Tackles Statewide Issue

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On Thursday, February 13, the Sierra Club’s newly revived Headwaters Group in Durham will hold a forum addressing concerns about water quality and the evolving role DENR is playing in the McCrory administration.  The meeting will be held at the South Branch of the Durham Library (map) at 7:00 pm.

We know Sierrans care about clean water.  Everyone does.  But is there really a need for a forum on DENR and water? Yes.  Yes there is.

Over the last three years DENR has experienced staff and funding cuts. At the same time, the water quality section of DENR has been reorganized and merged with the Division of Water Resources. The Department has become greatly politicized with a large expansion of at-will jobs. And last year DENR rejected two EPA grants totaling nearly $600,000 for water and wetlands research.

The Headwaters Group will host a panel of former DENR employees with expertise in water quality to address these questions and more.

Click here for details.

The Only Real Science that Jordan Lake Might See for a While

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If you missed the Op-Ed that Dr. Ken Reckow co-authored for the News & Observer last summer, you missed the chance to hear from a scientist who cares passionately about protecting the lake.  And he’s not alone.  Thousands of Sierrans took action last year to help protect the Jordan Lake Rules.  Dr. Reckow wasn’t alone then and he certainly won’t be alone on February 8 when he leads an educational hike along the lake’s New Hope Overlook Trail.

Group size for the educational hike is limited.  So, if you are interested in going on a 2.7 miles hike with moderately challenging hills, sweeping views of the lake, mature hardwood forests, groves of mountain laurel, lush creek crossings and a variety of wildflowers and ferns, you should probably RSVP on the Capital Group’s Meetup page at:

Dr. Ken Reckhow is a Professor Emeritus at Duke University in the Nicholas School of the Environment. During his 30-year tenure as a Professor at Duke, Dr. Reckhow taught courses course on water and the environment, published two books and wrote over 100 papers, principally on water quality modeling, monitoring, and pollutant loading analysis, with a focus on uncertainty, risk, and decision analysis.

So he knows his stuff. Click here to join the discussion about the uncertain future of the lake.

If you want to do your homework before the hike, here are a couple of articles to get you started.




Fifty and Looking Better Than Ever: Wilderness Act

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On September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill creating the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) protecting an initial 9.1 million acres for the American people.  The original pact set aside 13,400 acres in North Carolina to create Shining Rock Wilderness and 7,655 acres as Linville Gorge Wilderness.  Revisions to the bill in 1975 brought in an additional 18,600 acres.

With strong support from the NC Sierra Club, the NC Wilderness Act was passed on June 19, 1984, bringing in a whopping 68,700 acres of designated wilderness and preserving an additional 25,816 acres as wilderness study areas.  Today, North Carolina protects nearly 130,000 acres in 12 Wilderness Areas across the state.

We think that’s worth celebrating – all year long!  Watch for more information and special events around the state to recognize these wild areas in NC and the people who help protect them.  If you have a suggestion, a story or photo to share, or if you’d like to help plan the party, contact Nancy Card at

Upcoming Outings & Events

January 16 – 7:00 pm – Capital Group Meeting on the EPA Carbon Rules – Raleigh, NC

Guest speaker Jeremy M. Tarr from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions will provide an overview of these EPA regulations and other critical issues. Then, Harvey Richmond will review actions you can take to support strong and fair EPA rules.

Doors open 6:30 pm, program starts at 7:00 pm and refreshments at 8:30 pm. In case of inclement weather, check Facebook page for Capital Group Sierra Club. Location: Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, 3313 Wade Avenue, Raleigh, NC (map)

January 18 – 3:00 pm – Outing: Crowders Mt. Pinnacle & Ridgeline Trails – Kings Mountain, NC


This is a moderately strenuous 8.4 mile hike on the Pinnacle and Ridgeline trails. The first 2 miles will be from the Visitor Center to the Pinnacle. This will be the most strenuous part of the hike and will include a 920 foot elevation gain. Then we will follow the Ridgeline trail south 6.2 miles to the Boulders Access Area at the southern end of the park. Hikers should be fit and capable of hiking 8.4 miles including a 920 foot elevation gain. We will meet at Crowders at 9:00 am and should be finished by 4:00 pm including breaks and shuttling between start and end points. Limit 15.

Contact David Underwood at or 704-675-2390.

January 19 – 2:00 – 4:00 pm – Outing: Wetland walk on Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Trail – Raleigh, NC

Enjoy a brisk walk on a flat, paved trail through a wetland, approximately 1.5 miles each way and only 2 miles from downtown Raleigh. Outing begins and ends at Walnut Creek Wetland Center, located at the corner of State Street and Peterson Street in Raleigh. Participants are invited to view exhibits at Wetland Center before or after trail walk. Dress to be outdoors and wear comfortable broken-in walking shoes or hiking boots, no special equipment or skills needed.

Group size limited to 10, please RSVP by sending email to or RSVP on our Capital Group Meetup page at:

January 29 – 4:30 pm & 6:00 pm -  NC Museum of Natural Sciences Research Collection Tour


Because we can only accommodate a small group at a time, we will offer this tour twice, once at 4:30 pm and again at 6:00 pm, please select which time suits you better.

View prepared fish and mollusk specimens in a one hour tour of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Research Laboratory. Scientists use the approximately 3 million specimens in this collection for identification and comparison purposes. Facility is located at 1671 Gold Star Drive off Reedy Creek Road, across the street from the National Guard entrance, and sharing the same gate with Prairie Ridge Ecostation. Not physically strenuous, wear shoes comfortable for walking and standing, no special equipment or skills needed.

Group size limited to 8 per session, please RSVP by sending email to or RSVP on our Capital Group Meetup page at:

January 31 - February 2 - Overnight Outing:Trayfoot Mountain and Black Rock – Virginia

Rated strenuous for elevation and potential weather conditions. The trailhead is located on the Skyline Drive at MP 85 north of Waynesboro and east of Grottoes, VA.  About 3 ½ hours from Greensboro.

Trayfoot Mt. is the second highest peak in SNP’s South District and Black Rock is close to the Skyline Drive. The trip is weather dependent.  There is almost certain to be snow on the ground in the area and at this elevation.  We access the trailhead on the Skyline Drive, which can be closed for weather conditions. Group size is limited depending on experience of participants.  More information at

$25 per person required and is refundable-at-the-trailhead.  For information, contact Jerry Weston at or 336-856-1431. Telephone calls before 9:00 pm please.

February 8 – 10:00 am – Outing: Jordan Lake Hike and Educational Outing – Jordan Lake

Join the Capital Group for a short but somewhat strenuous hike at Jordan Lake’s New Hope Overlook trail. The hike covers the Blue Trail which is 2.7 miles long. This is the most challenging trail with several steep hills. Hikers will enjoy sweeping views of the lake, mature hardwood forests, groves of mountain laurel, lush creek crossings and a variety of wildflowers and ferns. Dress appropriately for the weather, wear sturdy hiking boots, and bring water.

A thoughtful discussion on the controversial Jordan Lake cleanup project will be led by Dr. Ken Reckhow, Professor Emeritus at Duke University in the Nicholas School of the Environment.

 Click here for more information.  Registration required.  Group size is limited.

February 12 – 4:00 – Outing: 2nd Wednesday Winter Hike Series – NC Botanical Gardens – Chapel Hill, NC

Enjoy a 3-mile, fast-paced hike on footpaths through meadows and hilly woodlands right in the heart of Chapel Hill. The group will trek through a former golf course green given back to nature and stop to see a wonderful bird blind built by local birding enthusiasts. We start promptly at 4:00 pm finish before sunset. Group size is limited to 12 participants. Sorry, no pets. Advance registration required. For more information and to register, contact Jae at

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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. Money Flower Donate Button

* New Year’s Day Outing – A fun tradition continues!

Now these are some happy folks that started the new year off right! Thanks to Outings Leader Steve Copulsky for planning and leading the outing!

Looking for another outing opportunity? One a bit more challenging? RSVP today for the Outing to Crowders Mt Pinnacle and Ridgeline Trails – Jan 18.

Thanks to Renee Reese for the photos!

New Years 2014 Cabin

New Years 2014 Bridge

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* New Year’s Day Hike – Anne Springs Close Greenway

New Year’s Day Hike – Wed, Jan 1, 2014 – Anne Springs Close Greenway

Anne Springs Close Cabin

Start the New Year by enjoying the outdoors! This hike is a nice 6 mile loop through the woods of this 2,100 acre nature preserve in nearby Fort Mill. We’ll cross 3 swinging bridges and pass by two 19th century log cabins. The land is fairly level, but it’s a trail through the woods, not a flat paved greenway such as those in Mecklenburg County. We’ll meet at 1PM and be done by about 4PM. Limit 15. Contact Steve Copulsky at or 704-543-7493.

All participants on Sierra Club outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver. If you would like to read the liability waiver before you choose to participate in an outing, download a copy at NC Sierra Club Sign In Waiver.

* NC Sierra Club – Footnotes Online for December 2013

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Friends,

A year ends, a year begins.  As we spend time this holiday season with family and friends, it will serve as a reminder of why we do this work.  In the coming year, we will continue the fight for clean water and to halt climate change. To understand the reason we do this work, we need to look no further than in the faces of our loved ones.

In this edition of Footnotes, we have one last tale of success, an action you can take to round out the year in activism, a recap of the Chapter’s work in 2013, and a look ahead to next year. Thanks for all that you do. And please enjoy the holidays.

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

High Bar Set in the Highlands

80%. That’s a lot. But that’s the goal that the Buncombe County Commission set for themselves to reduce the county’s carbon footprint by 80%.

The resolution passed on December 3 with bipartisan support on a 5-2 vote. The Commission also approved investing $800,000 in energy efficiency initiatives over the next few years which will save Buncombe County over $175,000 per year in energy costs.

Votes like this don’t happen on their own. It takes hard work, perseverance, and strong volunteers.  And our leaders in Asheville’s Wenoca Group of the NC Sierra Club were key to making this happen.

Our thanks go out to Judy Maddox, Ken Brame, and other leaders in the Wenoca Group for their hard work.  They helped turn out more than 50 community members to show their support for the resolution.  The group stepped up in a big way to make a mountain county in rural North Carolina a national leader in the movement towards clean energy!

Click here to read more about the about the resolution.

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Hundreds gathered in Pack Square in Asheville this summer in support of closing down Duke Energy’s Asheville Coal Plant.

Step Up for Clean Water

Right now, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is conducting a Triennial Review of water quality standards, and is accepting public comments through January 3, 2014. States are required by the federal Clean Water Act to review water standards every three years, in order to keep up with science and EPA recommendations. North Carolina last completed this process in 2006.

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The Catawba River was ranked as one our country’s most polluted rivers this year by American Rivers.

DENR neglected to propose any updates to standards this go round, despite the fact that many NC water protections are not up to par with federally recommended standards. There’s a lot we can say about this process.  But it’s not what we can say that matters.  It’s what you say that can make a difference.

Click here to send in your comments to DENR about the current state of our water programs.

And if you need a little guidance on what to say, we’ve got you covered.  The big picture items to keep in mind are:

  • NC Needs Standards for Toxic Heavy Metals;
  • NC Needs Nitrogen and Phosphorus Nutrient Standards to Protect Waters;
  • North Carolina Should Adopt a Methylmercury Standard; and,
  • North Carolina Should Strengthen Water Quality Standards to Comply with EPA Recommendations.

Click here to do your part in protecting our state’s water by sending a message to DENR. 

Click here to get more information about the points listed above.

Notice: Both of those links go to the same place.  How’s that for efficiency?!

2013: Looking Back & Looking Forward

Do you want to know how awesome the members of the NC Sierra Club are?  If you answered ‘no’ to that question, you may want to skip to the next section because some serious bragging is about to commence.

In 2013, Sierrans…

  • Continued the fifth year of the fight against Titan where more than 16,000 people have signed a petition opposing the proposed cement plant near Wilmington;
  • Helped turn out 400 people to a public hearing about Titan’s air permit and generated close to 1,000 comments to DENR on the matter;
  • Organized boat tours to the proposed Titan site for over 90 residents;
  • Over 500 North Carolinians attended our country’s largest climate change rally in Washington, DC in February;
  • Organized four public presentations on offshore wind, with more than 150 people attending;
  • Orchestrated a solar campaign that reached more than 5,000,000 people;
  • Pushed the Governor to declare June 2013 as Solar Energy Month;
  • Successfully helped defend the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from repeal;
  • Urged legislators to not repeal the Jordan Lake Rules, resulting in a delay rather than an all-out repeal; and,
  • Tirelessly advocated on issues such as building code standards, clean air, clean water, fracking, and more!

For a full overview of our work throughout this year, please check out our 2013 Annual Report:

Without volunteers stepping up time and time again, this year’s successes would not have been possible.  And the same will be true next year.

Thank you for all of your hard work this year.  Our state is a better and healthier place because of the work of volunteers like you.

2013 Collage.jpg

Clockwise starting with the big picture: A snapshot of the crowd of the Titan 5 year celebration, Mac Montgomery speaking about wind at an Act on Climate press conference in Wilmington, a new crop of Outings Leaders pose for a picture after an October training in Chapel Hill, Jessica Gray of the Cape Fear Group poses for a photo petition asking Gov. McCrory to proclaim June as Solar Month, and Sierrans listen to a presentation on the importance of making the Dorothea Dix campus in Raleigh a destination park.

Upcoming Outings

Saturday, December 21, 2013Hanging Rock State Park Day Hike

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and join us for a hike. We will hike portions of the Lake, Chestnut Oak, Magnolia and Wolf Rock Trails. Come see why Hanging Rock State Park was the Park of the Year for 2012.  These trails will give you an idea of how important our state parks are in preserving North Carolina’s natural heritage as well as preserving a place of peace and solitude. The hike is 5 miles and is rated moderate. Contact Henry Fansler at 336-473-0283 or

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 – 1:00 pm – New Year’s Day Yadkin River Day Hike

This moderately difficult 5-mile hike will take place in the Yadkin River section of Pilot Mountain State Park.  Sleep late as we’ll meet at 1:00 for an afternoon hike.  Bring water, snacks and rain gear.  For more information, contact Joel Wooten before 9:00 p.m. at 336-679-8672 or e-mail at

Friday, January 3 thru Sunday, January 5, 2014Laurel Fork Gorge

The Braemer Castle Hostel will be our base.  Rooms appear very clean.  $15 per night for bunk room.  $25 for private room.  We have numerous options for a hike Friday in the Dennis Cove area.  Saturday morning we set a shuttle to begin the day’s hike on the AT from Watauga Dam to US 321 at the south end of Watauga Lake. The trip is weather dependent.  There is almost certain to be snow on the ground in the area and at our elevation.  Some of the roads we use to set a shuttle are secondary.  In the event of a late week winter storm that forces cancellation of the trip, Plan B is the north section of the Neusiok for warmer weather.

More details upon inquiry.  Contact Jerry Weston at or 336-856-1431. Telephone calls before 9:00 pm please.

Sunday, January 12, 2014 – 10:30 am – Hanging Rock State Park

Join members of the Foothills group for a lively jaunt through the Sauratown Mountains, the only mountain range contained in a single county. This strenuous hike will include a walk to the top of Hanging Rock with beautiful fall vistas.  This 8.5 mile hike will include elevation gains and rocky uneven terrain. We’ll hike up to the top of Hanging Rock and enjoy the vista.  Next we’ll take Wolf Rock and Magnolia Springs Trail to intersect with the Moores Wall Loop and return back to our starting location.

Estimated hiking time is 3 hours, total time w/stops for views and snacks should be about 4 hrs. Adults only, no pets or children. Must be fit and able to hike a pretty good clip for several hours. Participation limited to 8. For more information and to register, contact Kim Ashley ( or Michael Byrne (

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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. Money Flower Donate Button

* Sierra Club 2013 Year in Review

Thanks to everyone for the great food and fellowship last night at our monthly meeting! It was a great time to get together and reflect about our challenges and accomplishments in 2013. Again,  thanks to the many members, supporters and partner organizations that helped to make all this happen. Click below to see the presentation.

I hope that you’ll review it and think about the great work that we accomplished and how you’ll help to make a difference in 2014.


2013 Year in ReviewCPG 2013 Year in Review