Historic Wilma Dykeman Homestead

Preserving a Legacy

In late 2019 RiverLink acquired a conservation easement on the historic Wilma Dykeman homestead in North Asheville. The 11.38-acre property is the childhood home of Wilma, a historian, environmental activist, and author of The French Broad. Published in 1955, her book was an ode to the French Broad River, but also a daringly honest profile of its fragile condition, and the impacts of pollution on our streams and rivers.

The easement ensures that the valuable forested land, rare plant species and water features that Wilma loved so much will be safe from the negative impacts of development. It also helps protect a portion of Beaverdam Creek, which flows through the property, drains much of North Asheville, and ultimately empties into the French Broad River.

Wilma Dykeman’s influential writings and passion for environmental and social justice helped shape RiverLink’s mission of promoting the environmental and economic vitality of the French Broad River watershed. Protecting the wild spaces she loved so much is a way of paying homage to her legacy.

“There is only one respectable course for a free citizen and that is to shoulder his share of the responsibility for the ‘killing,’ for the pollution.” “Because, just as the river belongs to no one, it belongs to everyone and everyone is held accountable for its health and condition.”

— Wilma Dykeman | The French Broad

“As we have misused our richest land, we have misused ourselves; as we have wasted our beautiful water, we have wasted ourselves; as we have diminished the lives of one whole segment of our people, we have diminished ourselves.”

— Wilma Dykeman | Neither Black Nor White