Learn to Love the River

Discover what makes the French Broad River so special and learn about the many ways it connects our community.

Western North Carolina has many beautiful and unique landforms, but how did they come to be? In this issue we’ll take a look at how the landscapes in WNC formed. We hope you enjoy and learn something new!

How the Blue Ridge Mountains Formed

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) is a local nonprofit land trust that develops relationships with landowners to maintain and steward natural areas for conservation and recreation. SAHC works to protect the unique ecosystems found in WNC and Eastern Tennessee. One of their current AmeriCorps Members, Hannah Latranga, put together a video focusing on how the Southern Appalachian Mountains formed and resulted in the many unique ecosystems found in our backyards. At the end of the video she also has a great craft project so you can make your own mountains using scrap paper!


Waterfalls and Caverns

How our landscape is formed has a big impact on the natural features and ecosystems we see today! We talked about erosion in a previous issue and that process shapes the land into beautiful features like waterfalls and caves. They can only form though because of the types of rocks that make up our mountains. Waterfalls take shape as a stream erodes away the softer rock, like limestone, between layers of harder rock, like granite. SciShow Kids has a wonderful video on this topic linked to the right. Caves and caverns can form because of the erosion of softer rocks as well! Millions of years ago, coral reefs in a shallow ocean got stuck between mountains as the land pushed together, forming the limestone found in the Blue Ridge Mountains. So when you visit Linville Caverns, you’re actually visiting an ancient coral reef! Go on a virtual tour of the caverns with this virtual tour from Our State Magazine. 


Name That Creek!

Western North Carolina is an area with many streams, creeks, lakes, and rivers which we can connect with and conserve. RiverLink strives to be a way for communities to connect with all of these waterways, learning more about them and having positive experiences. A good way to start developing that connection is by learning the names of local streams and lakes, such as Smith Mill Creek and Lake Julian, but even today there are many unnamed creeks and streams!

The Name that Creek program began with the naming of Rhododendron Creek in January 2000. Rhododendron was a name suggested by a 12-year old resident who was inspired by interviews with other West Asheville residents who remembered a Rhododendron Park in the area that no longer exists. Each campaign to name a creek features a period of local residents suggesting creek names, then a voting on the most popular names, and finally RiverLink submitting the winning name to the U.S. Board of Geographical Names for approval.

Names can help foster a connection to our waterways, especially with many names inspired by history. You can have a hand in preserving that history! Many of the creeks named through our Name that Creek program are still maintained by RiverLink and our wonderful volunteers to keep them clean and healthy!


A Little Dose of Inspiration

Berkeley N., a 5th grade student at Rainbow Community School, submitted this great piece for our Voices of the River Art and Poetry contest this year. Waterfalls are such a great sours of natural inspiration, we hope you love them as much as we do!


Staying connected to the river and each other.

We are thinking of you all in these uncertain times and hope you are staying healthy and safe! Thanks to your generous support we are able to continue our Education, Water Quality and Land Conservation programs, but we couldn't do it without you!