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History of the Pigeon River

The Cherokee called the Pigeon River the "beautiful maiden". The waters of have long served as a life-blood for the people that reside along its banks throughout Western North Carolina and East Tennessee, providing life and livelihood with its waters. Over a century ago (1908), the river got a new neighbor named Champion Paper Products, and life for everyone else along the downstream shores quickly changed.


"We have the water right here, and we EXPECT it to be cleaned up."

            -Wilma Dykeman Stokely 

Photo by WNC Magazine

Pigeon River Timeline

Meet the Team


Deborah Bahr

Executive Director

Deborah Bahr is the Director of CWEET and has been a community worker, mother, and artist living in East Tennessee for almost 30 years. She holds a degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Tennessee. Deborah is a mentor and life coach and is dedicated to a clean Pigeon River and the development of healthy Appalachian economies.


Laurie "Spring" Duckett

Community Organizer

Spring has been in love with Mother Earth since taking her first breath. Her story includes a degree in green & sustainable mgmt, activism, community service, holistic living, parenting, homeschooling, sustainable gardening, intentional community work, festival event infrastructure, and more. She describes her work for CWEET as “weaving water webs”: admin tasks, networking, event infrastructure, even roadside trash pickup!


Jillian Bryan

Stream Monitoring Coordinator

Jillian Bryan has lived along the Nolichucky River in East TN for 20 years and is dedicated to monitoring and advocating for the health of our streams. She is naturally curious and enjoys everything outdoors, crafting, learning and spending time with her daughter.


Miranda Lott Barker

Multimedia Designer and Technology Support

Miranda grew up rafting on the Pigeon and surrounding rivers, and has returned to East TN to make her home in Cosby after 15 years. Miranda is a long time science educator and a mother of 4 whose technology and curriculum background will support CWEET's vision to educate and inform the local community.

Board of Directors

Aaron Szevans

Jennifer Szevans

Connie Smith

Dawn Raven

Jennifer Henderson

Youth Representatives:

Gillian Barker

Cassidy Duckett

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