The Western North Carolina (WENOCA) Group is a part of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club. Its area of interest covers the counties of North Carolina west of Buncombe county except for Transylvania, Henderson and Polk counties. Those three counties are covered by our sister organization the Pisgah Group.

The group usually meets on the first Wednesday of each month. The meetings start at 7:00 p.m. with half an hour of social get together, program beginning at 7:30. The meetings are held in Asheville at the Unitarian Church, 1 Edwin Place at Charlotte Street. The form of the meeting is a brief session of announcements and business followed by a presentation about an issue in which the WENOCA Group is interested. A list of the forthcoming programs can be found under WENOCA News.

The WENOCA Group is an all-volunteer group with no paid staff. It is governed by an executive committee of seven members elected by the membership. Contact information for the members of the executive committee is provided on the excom page.

Visit our Volunteer Opportunities webpage to find out how you can get involved in our local outings, educational programs and events, membership recruitment and engagement,  fundraising, and advocacy efforts. There are opportunities to volunteer for many different types of tasks, to fit all types of schedules and time commitments. We need your talents and energy to help green Western North Carolina.

After you learn about our work, please consider becoming a member of the Sierra Club.  You can join on line using our secure server. Join now to receive a Sierra Club backpack as a welcome gift!

If you are a member, you can also renew your membership online via the same secure server. If you are not sure about joining the Sierra Club, follow this link to read why you should join us.

The WENOCA Group and the National Sierra Club are the same 501 C (4) non-profit legal entity. The local WENOCA Group is empowered to speak on behalf of the entire Sierra Club on issues that fall wholly within the Group’s geographic jurisdiction. The Sierra Club engages in the full range of electoral politics allowed by law. Because the Club has registered political action committees at the federal and state level, the WENOCA Group is able to make political endorsements at every level of government within its political boundaries, from US Congress to local county commissioner and council elections.

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Join us for the 7th Annual Summer Picnic – July 16

On Saturday, July 16, the Sierra Club will enjoy its 7th Annual Summer Picnic from noon to 4 pm at the Blue Ridge Parkway sheltered picnic grounds located on Bull Mt. Rd. near the VA Hospital on Riceville Rd.

 Directions: Exit 7 on I-240; go east on Tunnel Rd for 2 miles; turn north on Riceville Rd; go past VA Hospital, turn left on Bull Mt. Rd. The fenced-in, sheltered picnic area is on the left about ½ mile up the road. Please bring a pot luck dish to share and your own settings. Drinks will be provided. Badminton, horseshoes and music will add to the festivities. We hope to see you there!

Contact: Judy Mattox, 828-683-2176, judymattox@sbcglobal.net


Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Written by Deborah

Friday June 24: “The Future of Renewable Energy & Environmental Policy in NC”

 “The Future of Renewable Energy & Environmental Policy in NC,” with speakers Ken Brame, Sierra club Political Chair & Brownie Newman, Vice-Chair Buncombe County Commission.
Location: The Collider, 1 Haywood St., Suite 401, Asheville, 8:30am- 10:00am.  Free & open to the public.  More information: ThinkNCFirst-Asheville Invitation Contact: sarah@willowstrategies.com.
Recommended parking in the Rankin Parking Deck.
This event is part of Think NC First, a think tank and sponsor of Roadmap 2025 Project for NC’s education, economic growth, natural resources, and quality of life. http://www.nc-roadmap.org./
Monday, June 13th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Recycling: June 18 hard to recycle items collection Weaverville

Asheville Greenworks hard to recycle event For more information: http://www.ashevillegreenworks.org/hard-2-recycle.html

Thursday, May 12th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Meeting: Wednesday, June 1, 7 PM “Celebrating 100 years of the National Park Service in the Southeast”

Sierra Club, MountainTrue, and Green Drinks will present “Celebrating 100 years of the National Park Service in the Southeast” with Danny Bernstein, hiker of over 40 years.  Danny will describe the 71 national park units in the SE from the Great Smoky National Park to the 1 square block of Tupelo National Battlefield. Wednesday, June 1, 7 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, (corner of Charlotte & Edwin). Free & open to the public. Contact: judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176

Sunday, May 8th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Rocky Fork State Park 2nd Annual Hikers’ Jamboree 
Friday May 6 & Saturday May 7

Rocky Fork State Park is Tennessee’s new state park, and it is only 37 miles (or around 45 minutes) from Asheville. They are hosting the 2nd Annual Hikers’ Jamboree 
Friday, May 6 & Saturday, May 7.

Join us for a two day event celebrating all things Rocky Fork’s cultural and natural histories, led by trained naturalists and academics in the field. From the bats in the night, to the salamanders in the spring, even local music, stories, and games!

All Programs are FREE to the public and will be held at the Flag Pond Schoolhouse (110 Schoolhouse Rd) or at the “blue gate” (501 Rocky Fork Rd). Shuttles will be provided to and from park and school due to extremely limited parking at the trails.

Of note: Ranger Tim Pharis reports that children’s attendance is encouraged at the Hikers’ Jamboree, having a variety of programs. Also, please make note of the Jamboree’s Saturday 9:00 pm “Night Sky” program, with night sky education & telescopes available for viewing. For more information about all the programs, please refer to their website below:


Also of note is an upcoming WENOCA (Sierra Club) Hike at Rocky Fork State Park, listed below: (Must sign up via WENOCA Hike leader, noted below.)

SATURDAY, JUNE 25 – WENOCA HIKE at Rocky Fork State Park. Includes a Splash in the Creek (not swimming) opportunity to cool off. Moderate level of difficulty w/ a few short areas that are a bit steep, distance 4-5 miles. Meet in Asheville at 10 a.m., return around 5:30. Ranger Tim Pharis will lead us on a guided hike. Learn about this new Tennessee State Park that is near Asheville. Opportunities for wildflower ID, and perhaps some water-wildlife ID. NOTE: Hikers must be fit sufficiently for hiking in hot weather. For questions or to sign up, please contact Wenoca’s hike leader Lisa McWherter at lisamcw2@gmail.com or 828-713-4994.

Friday, April 15th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Wednesday, May 4, 7 PM “Organic Backyard and Patio Gardening”

“Organic Backyard & Patio Gardening”, with our local NC Agricultural Extension agent.  Learn tips to create successful vegetable & berry gardens to benefit your health & the planet –- just in time for spring planting season. Wednesday, May 4, 7 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, (corner of Charlotte & Edwin). Free & open to the public. Contact: judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176

Friday, April 15th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Tuesday, April 19, 7:00 PM The Nature Conservancy in Western North Carolina

As most birders know, the mountains of western North Carolina feature a renowned ecological biodiversity. The conservation of this biodiversity had led The Nature Conservancy to protect more than 160,000 acres of land within an hour’s drive of Asheville as well as 700,000 acres of land in NC, most of which is open to the public as parks, wildlife refuges, and nature preserves. Megan Sutton, the Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Southern Blue Ridge Program in North Carolina, will talk about local land protection goals, forest restoration, and conservation of species like the Golden-winged Warbler. Please join us to hear about the remarkable conservation work TNC is doing. Flyer: TNC_19Apr2016
Tuesday, March 8th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Input sought on Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan

ASHEVILLE, N.C., February 29, 2016 — Starting this month, the Forest Service will provide an opportunity for the public and partners to see draft building blocks of the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Plan as they are being developed. Some initial building blocks of the plan are available now on the National Forests in North Carolina website.

Since 2012, the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests have been in the process of revising their forest plan. The forest plan is a required document that guides what activities can take place on a particular piece of Forest Service land. Forest plans are typically revised every 15-20 years.

“Public input is essential to our planning process,” explains James Melonas, Deputy Forest Supervisor for National Forests in North Carolina. “We are continuing to engage the public in various ways as we develop the Forest Plan. To help facilitate input and discussion, we are sharing our thinking on each small piece of the plan as it is being developed. Sharing now allows us to make sure we are on the right track before we release an official draft.”

This month, the Forest Service is releasing pieces of the plan that apply to the whole forest. These pieces identify broad goals and concepts for managing the forest’s resources. More building blocks of the developing plan, including the management area plan direction, the plan monitoring program and required analyses, such as the evaluation of lands that might be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System, will be available in the months ahead. These additional materials will be posted on the website throughout spring and summer 2016.

“It is important for the public to understand that the materials we are releasing now are ‘under construction.’ As we receive feedback, the versions on the web will be updated to reflect our evolving thinking,” says Melonas. “We want to show how public input is being used in the development of the plan.”

These building blocks are designed to build a broadly supported and implementable forest plan that guides the Forest to provide clean and abundant water, connect people to the land, and improve and restore forest health. A formal draft plan and associated Environmental Impact Statement are expected for release in Fall 2016.

The developing plan language, as well as a short video from Deputy Forest Supervisor James Melonas, is available on the Nantahala and Pisgah Forest Planning Home page of the National Forests in North Carolina website (www.fs.usda.gov/nfsnc). New content will be updated as it is developed on the Forest Plan Under Construction page