Mountaineers and their Waterways
Before industrialization, most people living along the rivers and streams in the Southern Appalachians were self-sustaining farmers who knew that protecting their natural resources was essential for their continued existence. Good stewardship was as important as good citizenship and a deep connection to their faith.
The Cherokee and the Long Man
The Cherokee had a sacred connection to all waterways and the practice of going to water for purification and other ceremonies was at one time very common. Today the river or any body of moving water is considered a sacred site and going to water is still a respected practice by many Cherokees.
Wilma Dykeman, Savior of the French Broad
Wilma Dykeman, the award-winning author and ardent mountain environmentalist was a passionate protector of the French Broad watershed, standing up to Champion Paper and other manufacturers that were killing the river. The growth of camps, outfitters and breweries are only possible today due to her heroism.
United We Stand, Divided We're Dammed
The Upper French Broad Defense Association was an organization of local farmers and conservationists who fought the TVA's plans to build 14 dams along the French Broad and its tributaries which would have flooded over 18,000 acres of prime farmland and displaced thousands. Their success is a testament to what a determined community can do to protect its natural resources.
Waterway Heroes of Today
Environmental watchdogs and water-connected businesses have picked up the gauntlet from the river heroes of yesterday, working to educate, monitor and advocate for clean waterways so that we all can live in a healthy, sustainable and protected ecosystem along with the other critters that call our region home.

The Southern Mountain region is blessed with a bountiful supply of mountain water that has made the area a paradise for trout fishing, boating, swimming and has encouraged the growth of summer camps, outfitters, breweries and other water related businesses.  But these rivers and streams have faced major challenges in the past and today from development, agriculture and other sources of pollution.

With a rich natural resource has come a dedicated army of heroes who have fought to protect this natural inheritance.  The Cherokee saw every body of water as sacred and worked to protect the “Long Man” and its “chattering sisters”.  Mountaineers knew their natural resources were their bank account and before industrialization sought to keep them protected.  Over the years, farmers and conservationists went to battle together to fight factories turning clear waters brown and the TVA that sought to dam it.

This film tells the stories of the river heroes of the past and those heroes today including the environmental watchdogs and water-connected businesses who brook no challenge to keep our rivers clean and pristine.  PLEASE SUPPORT OUR FILM PROJECT TODAY!