The logo for Friends of the Falls - Friends of the Falls was a grass-roots group formed in April, 2000 to advocate the preservation and public access to High Falls, Triple Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Its tireless efforts over a seven month period helped lead to the addition of the 2200 acre waterfall tract to the DuPont State Forest.

Friends of the Falls was formed shortly after then Attorney General Mike Easley and Hendersonville attorney Sam Neill recommended that the N.C. Council of State consider invoking eminent domain on land surrounding the waterfalls if suitable protection and public access could not be negotiated.

Zirconia native Doug Coggins scheduled a public meeting at the Hendersonville library in early April to raise public awareness of the issue (press coverage). Local radiologist Ken Shelton helped organize the meeting and wrote key guest editorials in local newspapers. After the meeting, supporters formed an informal steering committee, which grew to twenty members representing an amazingly diverse cross section of the local population.

The leadership of Friends of the Falls meet to celebrate the opening of the DuPont waterfalls on December 9th, 2000

The leadership of Friends of the Falls meet to celebrate the opening of the DuPont waterfalls on December 9th, 2000

Over the summer, the group campaigned throughout the area, holding several public meetings and stumping on the streets of Hendersonville and Brevard. Supporters contributed thousands of dollars, which were spent on brochures, local newspaper ads, and cable spots running in several large N.C. cities. The Friends of the Falls website collected about ten thousand hits and used beautiful photographs by Cedar Mountain conservationist Bill Thomas to educate the public about the importance of natural wonders they had never seen.

By the time negotiations broke down between the State and developer Jim Anthony, more than 4,300 letters, cards, and emails had been collected by Governor Hunt’s office on the issue. The “vast majority” were in favor of the State acquiring the property (quote from Govenor’s office).

Friends of the Falls disbanded by donating its remaining funds and much of its leadership talent to Friends of DuPont Forest.


 

 

Leadership of Friends of the Falls

Friends of the Falls was led by a passionate steering team that met every Monday night for several hours.  The group was balanced to include representatives of both Henderson and Transylvania counties, Republican and Democrats, natives and retirees, as well as mountain bikers, equestrians, hikers, and conservationists. Bill Thomas: Treasurer

  • Chuck McGrady
  • Doug Coggins
  • Ken Shelton
  • Jeff Jennings
  • Woody Keen
  • Dennis Honnold
  • Lee and Lynn Kitts
  • Don Moody
  • Dick Thompson
  • Speed Rogers
  • Gwen Hill
  • Aleen Steinburg
  • Patti Bunch
  • Vern Jensen
  • Jim Plick
  • JoJo Keen
  • Bill Stricker
  • Sally Greenfield