About Us

The Sierra Club, the oldest and arguably the most powerful environmental group based in the United States, was created in 1892 by John Muir, an avid hiker, poet and conservationist who served as the group’s president until his death in 1914.  A few years after the end of the Civil War, he walked from Kentucky to Florida where he first experienced and chronicled the wilderness and waterways of Northeastern Tennessee. 

More than 100 years later, with the enthusiasm and guidance of local environmentalists Catherine Murray and Dean Whitworth, Northeastern Tennessee residents presented bylaws to the TN Chapter and the formation of the group was approved at the Winter Chapter meeting in 2006. 

The controversy over a proposed dairy concentrated animal feeding operation had united citizens over the possible ill-effects an industrial farm would have on their property values as well as the water quality of Roan Creek and Watauga Lake.  The formation of the Watauga Group was a natural outgrowth of the relationship local citizens had with the Sierra Club. 

Members of the newly formed Watauga Group embraced the opportunity of being a part of this great organization by forming canoe outings on the James and Suwannee Rivers, a Fishing for Kids program on Doe Creek, began a small fresh vegetable market preceding the Johnson County Farmer’s Market, assisted communities in Shady Valley with pollution from an industrial farming operation and in Butler and Trade when an asphalt plant threatened water quality in Doe and Roan Creek. 

Named for the watershed that supplies much of our area with fresh water, the Watauga enjoys the benefits of being aligned with the largest environmental organization in the United States as well as support from the citizens of Northeastern Tennessee.  We have some of the cleanest water east of the Mississippi in the Watauga Watershed and it is well worth fighting for.

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