Wilma Dykeman Legacy Hosts Free Events Along the French Broad

Kayakers on the French Broad River's Blueway.
Woodfin Greenway & Blueway

Join Wilma Dykeman Legacy this summer for three Saturdays of French Broad River learning and fun. The focus will be on a nine-mile stretch of the river between the Smoky Park Supper Club and the French Broad River Academy for Boys.

Along the way, attendees will learn more about Wilma Dykeman, the Wilma Dykeman Riverway, RiverLink, and more! There will also be plenty of sampling food and drink from the Smoky Park Supper Club, paddling the French Broad River, and taking a train ride along lower Beaverdam Creek.

Asheville’s and Woodfin’s riverfronts are going through exciting times.  Asheville’s River Arts District is coming into its own with a multi-modal corridor called the Wilma Dykeman Riverway, and Woodfin is extending the greenway northward and moving ever nearer to becoming the site of a world-class whitewater wave.  This summer is a good time to celebrate, learn, and have some fun on and near the river.

You and our friends and family are invited to come along!  Here are the details:

Saturday, June 22 – Wilma Dykeman, RiverLink, and the Wilma Dykeman Riverway
TIME: 10:00 AM to Noon
WHERE: Gather at the Boathouse at Smoky Mountain Supper Club (350 Riverside
Drive 28801).

While sampling food and drink, we’ll see and hear illustrated  presentations from the following speakers:

  • Jim Stokely, President of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy
  • Garrett Artz, Executive Director of RiverLink, the organization that sparked the revitalization of the French Broad River
  • a City of Asheville representative, giving an update on the Wilma Dykeman Riverway.

Saturday, July 27 – Paddling the French Broad River with Asheville GreenWorks
TIME: 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
WHERE: Gather at Asheville GreenWorks’ Riverside Office at 318 Riverside Drive (28801).

French Broad Outfitters will shuttle participants to Hominy Creek River Park at 220 Hominy Creek Road (28806), where we’ll board canoes,  kayaks and dories. Then we’ll paddle and float down the river to Asheville GreenWorks’ Riverside office.  Asheville GreenWorks Executive Director Dawn Chavez and Director of Operations Eric Bradford will share with us the history and current activities of this amazing organization – and former Executive Director Susan Roderick plans to join us on the river! Please note that participation is limited to 20 persons.

Saturday, August 17 – The Woodfin Greenway / Blueway and a Creekside Train Ride
TIME: 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
For those going on the train ride parallel to the route of the Woodfin Greenway (NOTE: participation limited to 35 persons), gather at the Craggy Mountain Line at 11 Woodfin Avenue just off  Merrimon Avenue in the Town of Woodfin. For those attending only the event at the French Broad River Academy for Boys (1990 Riverside Drive next to The Mills at Riverside), gather at the Academy at 2:30 PM. We’ll see and hear illustrated presentations from the following speakers:

  • Josh O’Conner and/or Karla Furnari, with Buncombe County Parks and Recreation, discussing the Woodfin Greenway
  • Marc Hunt, former member of Asheville’s City Council, discussing the Woodfin Blueway
  • Jim Stokely, President of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy, discussing the history of lower Beaverdam Creek

Following these presentations, French Broad River Academy staffwill lead a short tour of their sustainable facility.  At 3:30, passengers on the Craggy Mountain Line will reboard their train and return to 11 Woodfin Avenue.

The Wilma Dykeman Legacy is a tax-exempt non-profit organization founded in 2012 to sustain and promote Wilma Dykeman’s values by sponsoring workshops, events, and other programs.  The core values of this extraordinary woman from Buncombe County included environmental integrity, social justice, and the power of the written and spoken word.  For more information, visit www.wilmadykemanlegacy.org.