The Western North Carolina Alliance is inviting the community to join us for the “Renewing Our Roots” spring gathering, to honor and celebrate WNCA’s founding in Macon County.
The event will be April 14 in Franklin.
Several free family-friendly activities will be offered throughout the day, culminating in a barbecue dinner and live music celebration at the Memorial United Methodist Church where WNCA’s founder, Esther Cunningham, was a member.
Mrs. Cunningham, a Macon County native, was 64 years old when she founded the Alliance in 1982. It is the only grassroots environmental advocacy focused solely on conserving Western North Carolina’s natural heritage.
She was motivated to create the Alliance by her love of the mountains and forests. She was outraged when the Forest Service considered allowing private companies to explore for oil and gas in the national forest.
Mrs. Cunningham pulled together her friends and neighbors, environmentalists and hunters, natives and newcomers in a successful effort to stop that proposal – and eventually to change the way the Forest Service manages its lands. She died last September, at the age of 93.
The Alliance has grown from a small group of dedicated volunteers working out of the trunk of co-founder David Liden’s car and Esther’s living room to an organization with offices in Asheville and Franklin, five full- time staff, three part-time staff, and two AmeriCorps volunteers.
Renewing Our Roots – Program Details:
Daytime Program: Times TBD
Wildflower Hike: Led by WNCA’s Josh Kelly (moderate)
Birding: Walk on the Little Tennessee River Greenway in Franklin (easy)
Canoeing: Travel along the Little Tennessee section of the Needmore Tract near Franklin
Evening Program: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Memorial United Methodist Church, 4668 Old Murphy Road in Franklin
Activities: Barbecue dinner, live music and a presentation by Mars Hill history professor Kathy Newfont, author of “Blue Ridge Commons: Environmental Activism and Forest History in Western North Carolina.” The book features photos and a few chapters on the Alliance’s founding and advocacy in its early days in Macon County.
Please join us for this very special event by sending an RSVP to or by calling 828-258-8737.