The Wilma Dykeman Legacy presents the Wilma Dykeman Riverway 2019 Summer Series on three Saturdays in June, July and August. The series will feature free daytime events on and along the French Broad River.
In her groundbreaking classic of 1955, The French Broad, Dykeman wrote the following: “There is only one respectable course for a free citizen and that is to shoulder his share of the responsibility for the ‘killing,’ for the pollution. Because, just as the river belongs to no one, it belongs to everyone—and everyone is held accountable for its health and condition.”
Dykeman’s poignant words mean a great deal to efforts to revitalize regional waterfronts along the French Broad, says RiverLink’s executive director Garrett Artz. “Our approach for 33 years has been to embody that ideal that we all need to see it as our river and our watershed,” he adds. “We want people, first, to experience the river and we also want them to learn about it. Finally, we want them to conserve it as a vital natural resource with efforts to promote improved water quality and to protect properties from harmful development.”
The series begins June 22 with Wilma Dykeman, RiverLink, and the Wilma Dykeman Riverway at the Boathouse at Smoky Mountain Supper Club at 10 a.m. A sampling of food and drink will be provided, along with presentations by Artz; Jim Stokely, president of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy; and a City of Asheville representative who will have an update on the Wilma Dykeman Riverway.
The next event will be Paddling the French Broad River with Asheville GreenWorks on July 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. “Since 1973, Asheville GreenWorks volunteers have been plying and relieving our beloved rivers from decades of manmade abuse,” says executive director Dawn Chavez. “Through the summer months 100,000 people pay to paddle and float the Asheville section of the French Broad. With 40 years of cleanups, advocacy and care, the French Broad River has finally begun to return to her natural state.”
The Asheville GreenWorks’ Riverside office, at 318 Riverside Drive, will be the gathering place for talks by Chavez, and by director of operations Eric Bradford. Afterwards, French Broad Outfitters will shuttle participants to Hominy Park to board canoes, kayaks and dories for an educational float trip back to the Riverside office. Past GreenWorks executive director Susan Roderick will also take part in the float. This event is limited to 20 participants.
The series finishes on August 17 with The Woodfin Greenway/Blueway and a Creekside Train Ride from 1:30– 3:30 p.m. The train ride, limited to 24 persons, will begin at the Craggy Mountain Line, at 11 Woodfin Avenue in Woodfin, and end at the French Broad River Academy for Boys (1990 Riverside Drive) for a presentation at 2:30 p.m. Participants may choose to attend only the presentation at the Academy, where speakers will include a Buncombe County Parks and Recreation representative discussing the Woodfin Greenway; Marc Hunt, former member of Asheville’s City Council, discussing the Woodfin Blueway; and Stokely, speaking on the history of lower Beaverdam Creek. A short tour of the Academy will follow.