Letter: Why not open Asheville’s watershed to recreation?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Why can’t we open the Asheville watershed’s 18,000 acres to mountain biking, trail running, hiking, hunting, fishing, etc.?

Many other watersheds in the world are open to recreation. This could even be done on a fee-based basis, and the fees used for trail/parking/pit toilet construction, etc. Eventually, these same fees could go toward updating the water delivery system.

This would be a huge asset to the people of the surrounding communities.

— Worth Grant
Black Mountain

Editor’s note: Xpress contacted the city of Asheville with a summary of the letter writer’s points and received the following response from spokeswoman Polly McDaniel: “The city of Asheville is fortunate to have a pristine water source that requires only basic treatment techniques to meet federal and state regulations.

“The city of Asheville’s watershed has a conservation easement, a voluntary, legal agreement that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Also known as a conservation restriction or conservation agreement, a conservation easement is one option to protect a property for future generations.

“The city owns all the land surrounding both reservoirs, which then creates high-quality water. Both watersheds have been classified as a Class 1 Watershed by the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. Class 1 Watersheds do not allow for any recreational activities within those boundaries.”


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3 thoughts on “Letter: Why not open Asheville’s watershed to recreation?

  1. henry

    We need clean water, rather than more tourist destroyed area. Great that it has legal protections.

  2. Mike Holcombe

    Not a good idea. Asheville is blessed with some of the highest quality raw water in the eastern United States. Making it publicly accessible would result in expensive capital improvements at the water treatment facilities, higher operating costs, and introduce risks not currently running.

  3. Mike

    Yeah, I’ve recreated outdoors in WNC for 20-plus years and have never wished for the watershed to be open. We have a wealth of options but also don’t have the resources to maintain/improve them. I would support increasing investment – when and if the economic security to do so returns- in what we already have.

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