Backgrond info about Julian Monroe Fisher and his Carolina Rivers team
The French Broad River

The French Broad River flows 213 miles (343 km) from near the village of Rosman in Transylvania County, North Carolina, into the state of Tennessee. Its confluence with the Holston River at Knoxville is the beginning of the Tennessee River.

The French Broad River was named by white settlers centuries ago because it was one of the two broad rivers in western North Carolina. The one which flowed into land claimed by France at that time was named the "French Broad River", whereas the other, which stayed in land claimed by England – the Colony of North Carolina – was named the "English Broad River". (The latter was later renamed simply the "Broad River"). The name of the French Broad River in French was the Agiqua River, the Native Americans of this area – the Cherokee Indians – called it different names: Poelico, Agiqua (broad) in the mountains, Tahkeeosteh (racing waters) from Asheville down and Zillicoah above Asheville.

The French Broad - The River Runs North



The French Broad River begins just east of the Eastern Continental Divide, and from there, it flows northeasterly through the Appalachian Mountains. The river follows a general northeasterly direction as it flows through Transylvania, Henderson, and Buncombe counties. In Buncombe County, the river flows through the city of Asheville, where it receives the water of the Swannanoa River. Downstream of Asheville, the river proceeds north through Madison County, where it flows through its county seat of Marshall. Next, the French Broad River flows northwesterly into Tennessee.

In Cocke County, Tennessee, the French Broad River receives the waters of both the Pigeon River and the Nolichucky River, after which the French Broad River is impounded behind Douglas Dam, forming Douglas Lake. In Sevier County, the French Broad River receives the flow of the Little Pigeon River, and then it flows through a wide gap in Bays Mountain before reaching the flatlands of Tennessee and joining with the Holston River at Knoxville.

The lower portion of the French Broad River is dominated by the major hydroelectric power dam and reservoirs which were built by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and which is one of the larger TVA developments on a tributary of the Tennessee River. (The two other very large ones are Norris Lake on the Clinch River and Cherokee Lake on the Holston River.)


Headwaters Outfitters, located at the Headwaters of the Historic French Broad River, we offer Paddling Adventures, Guided Fly Fishing Trips, Archery Lessons, Personal Paddling Instruction and a Full Paddlesports/ Fly Shop.


Highland Brewing Company...get a beer at Asheville's first legal brewery and learn what we believe in: honesty, integrity and respect. From our flagship Gaelic Ale to one-off Barrel Aged Smoked Cherry Wood Chocolate Cherry Stout, we believe in every beer we make. It has to be a beer we want to drink, made with the finest ingredients and crafted with care for the product, our employees, our customers, and our environment.


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Dust off the old hard-case suitcase,throw in some casual wear,a tooth brush and your cat-eye sunglasses and hit the road for an adventure retro-style, where the nostalgic simple get-a-way vacation is just a few miles down the road in Brevard, North Carolina at the Sunset Motel!


RiverLink is a regional non-profit spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries as a destination for everyone to work, live and play.


MountainTrue champions resilient forests, clean waters and healthy communities in Western North Carolina.


The French Broad River Paddle Trail was created by the Western North Carolina Alliance (WNCA), by establishing seven new campsites that now link more than 140 miles of the river, from Rosman, N.C., to Douglas Lake, Tenn. Enjoy the paddle-in-only campsite created by WNCA, or stop at one of the already existing campgrounds or campsites.


We in North Carolina are blessed with beautiful beaches, majestic mountains and countless rivers and streams in between. Come visit a North Carolina State Park!


Blue Car Productions, the film production company for exploration, adventure, nature & culture. Experienced, authentic, versatile and patient. Our services range from raw film footage and audio gathering in the wild to complete edited corporate promotion films.

In 1987, the NC General Assembly established the French Broad River State Trail as a blueway which follows the river for 67 miles. The paddle trail is a part of North Carolina State Trails Program, which is a section of the NC Division of Parks and Recreation. A system of launch points locations were created along the river for the trail.
The portion of the French Broad River in Tennessee was designated a state scenic river by the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Approximately 33 miles (53 km) of the river in Cocke County, starting at the North Carolina border and extending downstream to the place where it flows into Douglas Lake, are designated as a Class III, Partially Developed River.

Wilma Dykeman wrote the book The French Broad (1955) about the river. The book brought public attention to concerns about the polluted condition of parts of the river. Current conservation groups include The French Broad Riverkeeper and RiverLink. Facebook also hosts the French Broad Riverkeeper profile to list current river happenings.
The French Broad River is also the subject of the monograph Watershed: The French Broad River (2012) by Jeff Rich. RiverLink is a regional non-profit spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries as a destination for everyone to work, live and play.

Wilma Dykeman spent six months in the early 1950's, driving with her husband through the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee to research this book. She spoke with local farmers and loggers, visited libraries and newspaper offices, and read numerous accounts of the history of the French Broad River bioregion. The result is a very solid history of the region, spiced with plenty of local color. Although her prose is at times dry, and although her attempts to include quotations and jokes from local people sometimes come off as awkward, her fidelity to the people who are the subjects of her book is unwavering, and she makes numerous insights about the region's history and future which remain true today. The chapter, "Who Killed the French Broad?" is particularly prophetic; no doubt Ms. Dykeman must be happy in her Newport, Tennessee, home to see that the river runs cleaner than it did back in 1955, when the book was first published. A classy book by a classy woman.

Dykeman grew up in the Beaverdam community of Buncombe County, North Carolina, now part of Asheville. She was the only child of Bonnie Cole Dykeman and Willard Dykeman. Her father had relocated to the Asheville area from New York as a widower with two grown children, and had met and married her mother in Asheville. He was 60 years old when Wilma was born and died when Wilma was 14 years old. In later life, she credited both of her parents for giving her a love of reading and her father for giving her a love of nature and a curiosity about the world around her.


She attended Biltmore Junior College (now the University of North Carolina at Asheville), graduating in 1938, and Northwestern University, where she was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa and graduated in 1940 with a major in speech.

In August 1940, shortly after her graduation from Northwestern, she was introduced to her future husband, James R. Stokely, Jr., by Mabel Wolfe, the sister of Asheville writer Thomas Wolfe. Stokely, of Newport, Tennessee, was a son of the president of Stokely Brothers Canning Company (which in 1933 bought Van Camp to become Stokely-Van Camp Inc. The Stokely brand of canned food is now a brand of Seneca Foods and Van Camps a brand of Conagra Inc.) The couple married just two months after they met. They had two sons, Dykeman Stokely and James R. "Rory" Stokely III. The couple maintained homes in Asheville and Newport, and Dykeman continued to divide her time in both homes after Stokely died in 1977. Dykeman and Stokely wrote several books together.

After Dykeman died in 2006, Appalachian writer Jeff Daniel Marion called the couple's marriage a "partnership in every sense of the word," describing Dykeman and Stokely as "partners in writing, partners in marriage and partners in having similar points of view."

In addition to this, in honor of Wilma Dykeman who strongly advocated for linkage between economic development and economic protection along the French Broad River, both the City of Asheville and Buncombe County in Western North Carolina have adopted the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan - a 17-mile greenway & park system that intends to revitalize sustainable economic growth along the French Broad and Swannanoa River.

Dykeman died on December 22, 2006 after suffering complications from a fractured hip and subsequent hip replacement surgery. She is buried in the Lewis Memorial Park, just behind Beaverdam Baptist Church in Asheville, near her childhood home. Her tombstone is quite easy to find as it lies on top of a knoll just behind the church.


The Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan is RiverLink's design to redevelop the urban riverfront corridor of the U.S. City of Asheville, as a demonstration project for the entire French Broad River watershed by connecting a 17 miles (27 km) Greenway System along the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers. It was built and expanded on a former Plan created by RiverLink in 1989, called the Asheville Riverfront Plan, which won the American Planning Association Award and represents the consolidation of over 20 years of community efforts and visioning. Since its inception in 1987, RiverLink, a regional non-profit organization, has spearheaded The RiverWay by gaining public support and partnering with local, state, regional and federal agencies, the public at large, private foundations, Buncombe County, and the City of Asheville for the plan's implementation.





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