SACRED SPACE: The Rosebud camp is one of three encampments where protesters have gathered since August to oppose construction of the Dakota Access pipeline across tribal lands. Photo by Tommy Cook

WNC locals support protesters at Standing Rock

The Dakotas may be far from Asheville, but many WNC locals have traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation since protests began there in late August over a disputed oil pipeline that crosses tribal lands. Others in Asheville have donated money or supplies to support the tribe’s efforts to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

INTO THE WOODS: Volunteers are developing a new demonstration forest farm at the Madison County Public Library to increase awareness and knowledge of forest farming techniques. Photo courtesy of Rachell Skerlec

Forest farming can bring economic, environmen­tal benefits to WNC

While growing food and other crops beneath the forest canopy isn’t new — it’s been practiced by indigenous and traditional cultures around the world for centuries — a new focus on forest farming is highlighting the possibilities of forest-based production of non-timber crops in Western North Carolina.

KNOT IN MY CITY: A growing number of Asheville residents and appointed officials are expressing concerns over the city’s current tree ordinances, which they describe as incomplete or not strong enough to protect mature trees like the sycamores cut down at the Country Club of Asheville (above) recently as part of the golf course’s ongoing renovation project. Photo special to Xpress

If a tree falls in the city: Residents push to update Asheville’s tree ordinances

Citizen activists, members of Asheville’s Tree Commission and city officials are exploring the possibility of increased oversight on how trees are managed within the city limits. But with a lack of definition in key parts of the city’s policy, and obstacles at the state level impeding regulations on private property, updating Asheville’s tree ordinances is proving to be an uphill battle.

EMBRACING CHANGE: Soil scientist Laura Lengnick will be the keynote speaker at the Extension Master Gardeners of Buncombe County's gardening symposium on Oct. 12. Photo by Jane Morell

Extension Master Gardeners host fall gardening events

Through information sessions, a helpline and a day-long symposium on Oct. 12, the Extension Master Gardeners of Buncombe County continue their mission of educating the public on good gardening practices using research-based information provided by the North Carolina State University Extension Service throughout the fall.

Kids took over the downtown streets for fun Sunday. Photo by Adam McMillan

In photos: Open Streets Asheville Festival

The inaugural Open Streets Asheville brought residents and visitors into the streets to enjoy downtown in a new way. With Battery Park Avenue, Wall Street and portions of Haywood Street, Patton Avenue and Church Street closed to automotive traffic, folks did art projects, movement-based activities, listened to buskers and relaxed with yoga and massage.

SHARE THE ROAD: Big changes are on the way for the River Arts District in the coming years, as the city of Asheville and its partners get set to begin a host infrastructure improvements aimed at improving transportation into and around the RAD and upgrading multimodal options for pedestrians and cyclists. Photo by Max Hunt

Road to redevelopm­ent: Big infrastruc­ture upgrades on RAD’s horizon

Asheville’s rustic, arts-and-industry-dominated River Arts District is on the brink of a major transformation. From road realignment, sidewalk construction and expanded bike lanes to an ambitious network of greenways with the RAD as its central hub, substantial changes will be taking place over the next few years that will improve the way residents and visitors to the city access, explore and inhabit the area.

MAKING SPACE: Residents using Lyman Street and Riverside Drive over the next few months will notice work crews clearing trees and realigning utilities in preparation for construction affliated with the RADTIP project next Spring. Photo by Max Hunt

Cutting to the chase: What’s going on with tree removal in the River Arts District?

Residents commuting down Lyman Street and Riverside Drive have most likely noticed some serious changes to the tree line around 12 Bones. Work crews have been busy removing trees from the area, a project that is expected to continue through the fall. “I’ve been out of office almost 15 years, and I’ve gotten several calls […]

UP A CREEK: Crumbling banks can lead to loss of land, water pollution and habitat degradation for wildlife. A guide from the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service provides property owners with advice and strategies for stabilizing stream banks on their property. Photo courtesy of N.C. Cooperative Extension Service

Slip, sliding away: WNC creek banks imperiled by erosion

Stream erosion is a growing problem in Western North Carolina. When a stream bank on your property erodes, more sediment enters the waterway and the area and appearance of your land is diminished. Government publications and agencies offer guidance for property owners hoping to stabilize their banks and promote healthy stream ecology.