Hartwell has worked to protect and defend the French Broad River as the French Broad Riverkeeper for the last eleven years. He built and opened the French Broad River Paddle Trail, was the first person to call attention to the coal ash problems at the Asheville power plant. These problems are in the process of being cleaned because of litigation initiated by the Riverkeeper. Hartwell was also played a key role in the Asheville Beyond Coal campaign that succeeded in getting Duke Energy to commit to closing down the coal ash plant, thereby eliminating future coal ash storage problems, and stopping toxic heavy metal pollution to the French Broad River. Hartwell also played a key role in reducing sediment pollution, starting the swing guide monitoring program, implementing over two miles of stream restoration projects, and ensuring regulations are adequate and enforced to meet the goals of the Clean Water Act to have all waters be fishable and swimmable. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Georgia studying Recreation and Resource Management. While a student there, he worked with the Outdoor Recreation Center as an environmental educator and guide. After working for the Forest Service in Colorado, Hartwell earned his Master’s of Science from the University of Montana, where he conducted extensive work examining social and ecological impacts on the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. Hartwell has also served on several boards including President of Tennessee Riverkeeper, on the City of Asheville’s Flood Damage Reduction Task Force and Watershed Policy Committee, and as a board member of the Asheville Affiliates.
Hartwell can often be found paddling the French Broad River with his daughter Evan, partner Teela, and trusted sidekick June Bug.