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Welcome!

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.

 

Monday, November 21st, 2016
Written by Deborah

Dec 7, 6:30 pm: Sierra Club Holiday Party & Community Environmental Awards

All are warmly invited to WENOCA Sierra Club Group’s 7th Annual  Holiday Party & Environmental Recognition
Awards at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, December 7 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Asheville.
 Last year about 60 folks ate, drank, and were merry. Recognition awards will be presented to community leaders for outstanding environmental leadership.
Please bring a potluck dish to share and your own place settings,  as well as laughter and good cheer.
 
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Pl, (corner of Charlotte & Edwin Pl.)
 
 Contact: Judy Mattox, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176

Thursday, November 17th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Subject: Requesting help in opposing the Dakota access pipeline against the standing rock Sioux

Sierra Club: The Standing Rock Sioux are calling on all water protectors to join them in opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. Call 1-303-816-3559 to leave a message for the White House, asking that the Dakota access pipeline permit be revoked, and the Sioux rights be acknowledged.
Contact, judymattox@sbcglobal.net, 828-683-2176

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Sierra Club Oct. 5: “Environmental Legislative Update

The presentation features updates on coal ash, water quality, clean energy, recycling and more from the 2016 NC legislative session and what we can expect in 2017.
 
Date: Wednesday, Oct 5
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, Asheville (Charlotte Street and Edwin Place).
For more information, contact Judy Mattox, 828-683-2176, judymattox@sbcglobal.net

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Sierra Club Endorsements for the November 8 Election

Click on the Political page (on the left side bar).

Sunday, September 25th, 2016
Written by Deborah

Need Your Help for Nanthala/Pisgah Forests Wilderness Comments (including the Craggy Mountains)

Please email/write to the US Forest Service (address below) to ask for wilderness recommendations in the Nantahala/Pisgah Forests. (Talking points below.) See Craggy Mountains:  #1.
 
The background:
The US Forest Service has been working on the 20+ year revision of its management plan for Nanthala/Pisgah National Forests since 2012-3.  In 2015 the Forest Service expanded its wilderness inventory to include close to 360,000 acres in the two forests. In July 2016 the US Forest Service released their draft wilderness evaluations of this inventory, which unfortunately failed to take many deserving areas forward into analysis and whittled this acreage down by roughly 80% or more. The results fail to properly document the wilderness characteristics of the areas evaluated. This will inevitably prevent deserving areas from being recommended for wilderness and could potentially block them from even being protected under backcountry management, which could leave them open to logging.
 The Forest Service is accepting public comments on the evaluation. The Forest Service needs to properly evaluate these areas, with the most deserving being considered for wilderness recommendations.

1. Please advocate for the Craggy Mountains.  On Sept 20, 2016 Buncombe County Commission voted unanimously (7-0) to adopt a resolution recommending that the extended Craggy Mountains Wilderness Study Area be recommended for Wilderness designation to the US Forest Service and thereby, for them to recommend this to the US Congress for such a law to be passed.  Buncombe County resolved that 7900 acres be designated as wilderness.  However, in the Forest Service July Wilderness Evaluation, they stated that only under 5000 acres could be considered for Wilderness.
2. Tell the Forest Service to reconsider and greatly expand the areas carried forward for analysis. All of the 52 areas in the Wilderness Inventory have excellent wilderness characteristics and should not be so quickly dismissed by the Forest Service as having “no wilderness character.”
3. Ask the Forest Service to  include in alternatives deserving areas that were promoted by the public such as:  Terrapin Mountain, Tellico Bald, Wesser Bald, and Dobson Knob.
4. Tell the Forest Service to reinstate Overflow Wilderness Study Area in their recommendations — an area that has already been designated by the US Congress as a wilderness study area.
5. Tell the Forest Service that Mackey Mountain, and Tusquitee Bald should be included in Wilderness recommendation at a larger size than the Evaluation document suggests. Tusquitee Bald was inventoried at 29,000  acres, but the current evaluation whittled it down to 8500 acres. Mackey Mountain was inventoried at 14,985 acres, but the current evaluation whittled it down to 7355 acres. The Forest Service should NOT rule out or whittle down areas that have better Wilderness qualities, more solitude, and less intrusions of sites & sounds from the outside world than existing Wilderness areas like Shining Rock & Linville Gorge.
 6. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement must include a broad range of reasonable alternatives for Wilderness Designation.  The current draft alternatives are too narrow.
 
USFS contact:
Address your comments to the Plan Revision Team Leader
Email: NCplanrevision@fs.fed.us
Subject line: Summer Building Blocks
 
Or mail to:
Attn: Plan Revision Team Leader
National Forests in North Carolina
160 Zillicoa Street, Suite A
Asheville, NC 28801
 
TWS links:   The Wilderness Society
General information and critique of the evaluations: http://www.ncmountaintreasures.org/nantahala-pisgah-forest-plan-revision/
 
Area-specific comments: http://www.ncmountaintreasures.org/nantahala-pisgah-forest-plan-revision/usfs-wilderness-evaluations-and-tws-responses/

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016
Written by Deborah

August 3: Pollinators, Plants, Toxins & Roundup

Bee City USA’s Phyllis Stiles presents a discussion of pollinators, the plants they like, the toxins they hate, and the special danger posed by Roundup.  She will also report on the latest encouraging positions taken by Home Depot and Lowes.
Date: Wednesday, August 3
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, 1 Edwin Place, Asheville (Charlotte Street and Edwin Place).
For more information, 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./