This blog originally founded by Blogger who holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession. Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches. Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology. Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grandfather Mountain National Scenic Area Originally Posted 1/6/11

I do not have a clue what the following is all about. However, because Johnny Rico is such an important contributor to this blog, I am honoring her request. She has asked for a thread in order to discuss this subject:
 

One other damaging bill they need to not let come up for a vote
is the Grandfather Mountain National Scenic Area designation. Radical environmental groups in NC and elsewhere are pushing to have the area between Blowing Rock and Pinoela designated as a scenic area with no logging. What the fringe left groups are not telling you is that this area already has very stringent protections against logging and road building to the point that neither is taking place. The scenic designation could very well end hunting, shooting and trapping on federal lands which is what the lefties want.

WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN or WOMAN TODAY AND ASK THEM TO NOT CONSIDER THE GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN SCENIC DESIGNATION. The radical environmentalists are pushing this one hard, and Boehner and gang need to understand the underlying truth.

23 comments:

guy faulkes said...

I will try to start this off.

The national forests are supposed to be multi-use facilities that provide for the harvest of timber as well as recreational use of many types. These include hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, trapping, bird watching, using off road vehicles, horseback riding, camping, shooting (the Pittman / Roberson Act), bird watching, etc.

A scenic area designation limits or curtails many if not most of these uses. This designation prohibits the removal of any timer for any reason, including providing food plots for wildlife. As you may or may not know, wildlife requires many differentt things in order to have a healthy population. These includes space, cover, food, water, and edge. Edge is the transition from one type forest to another or of from forest to clearings. The most harmful kind of forest is for wildlife as a hole is a single age forest, especially if the forest is mainly made up of one type of tree. This kind of forest provides habitat for only a limited range of wildlife. Other types cannot exist if these singe growth, single age forests.

A scenic area does not allow for road building to allow access for vehicular traffic, either for recreational use, for fighting fires, or for access to the handicapped. As a matter of fact, access of any kind could be denied.

Forest fires were what used to be the method by which forests replenished themselves as to having growth of varying types and ages. Some scenic areas have been proposed in which forest fires are supposed to be allowed to burn with no control until they near the edge of the scenic area. This is not usually what really happens as forest fires are difficult to stop if they become very large and cause extreme erosion (much more than does logging if done to forest service standards).

As aa matter of fact, the best friend wildlife has is a change saw used for either selective cutting in a management program or clear cutting in mosaic patterns that leave many different types and ages of trees.

Now we get to the positive side of scenic areas. They are very pretty. They increase the value of adjoining property immensely, especially if the property has a good view of the area. Did you know that your property tax evaluation has a modifier for view? If you have a good view there is a positive percentage applied to your property. If you look over a land fill, there would probably be a negative percentage subtracted from the value. It is certainly in the best interest o those with gorge views of the proposed Grandfather scenic area for the rest of us to give up our use of the national forest for their benefit.

The interesting idea that goes along with this is that in areas that are zoned, screening is often required for uses different than those in the zoning area. If this is the case, then why should not the houses of the people wanting us to provide us with "million dollar views" to be screened so they cannot be seen by hunters. This of course is a preposterous idea, but it is no more so than these property owners wanting to steal our use of our property.

Another faction that loves scenic areas are anti hunters. These areas limit access and wildlife. With no access and low wildlife populations the antis feel there will be fewer hunters. There will also be fewer birds for the birdwatchers and endangered species will be harmed.

My thanks to Ricco for alerting me to the fact this has reared its head again. In my lifetime it has been defeated about three times.

guy faulkes said...

Should be chainsaw, not change saw. i think faster than I type.

NewGuy said...

guy faulkes...

GREAT post! I learned in my youth that forest fires were natures way of renewing the forest. The habitat that is disappearing fastest is the woodland clearing and "mast". Forest fires clear out the old and make way for the new while, at the same time providing habitat for different species of critters that can't exist in a pure, deeply wooded forest.

Of course, with homes located so closely to these forests, we really aren't going to allow a forest fire to continue....as you pointed out, the next best thing is the clear cutting of selected areas.

I was aware of the controversy involving the logging in the Globe area....I didn't realize it was an ongoing issue until Johny pointed it out.

Thanks for bringing this up Johny....and blogger...and thanks for the enlightenment Guy!

Cindy said...

guy faulkes, do you have a blog? You should have a blog. Thanks for the info.

guy faulkes said...

Cindy. no ma'am, I do not have a blog. It is all I can do to keep up with this one. Thanks Blogger and HD.

I stopped posting on the Watch some time ago as it is worthless. There is no free exchange of ideas. I also regularly visit some hunting and shooting blogs. None can compare with this one. Anything I could do would be second best at most.

Johnny Rico said...

Wow. I am in awe. Guy Faulks quite possibly posted the best written post I have ever seen. The subject was extremely well presented, full of facts, and easy to read. Judging from the fact he was asked to start his own blog from an accomplished blogger (Cindy I went to your blog) this is exceptional.

Blogger, I really can't add much more to what Guy gave us. I will simply add that the Grandfather Mountain National Scenic Designation is an insiduous effort by liberals to control the actions of others. These liberals are committed to destroying the environment to suit their needs and represent a viable, palpable threat to wise use of our natural resources.

The Grandfather National Scenic Designation encompasses Pisgah National Forest from Blowing Rock to Jonas Ridge Road in Avery County. The particular section of Pisgah is already under designation by the Forest Service for limited logging and road building. In other words, needed protection against wide scale clearcutting have been part of this area for many years now. The environmentalists don't want you to know this. Instead, they report the sky is falling in hopes of tripping up folks into supporting a bill they want to introduce into Congress. If this happens, the land use, a Faulks points out, is severely limited to the enjoyment of those with a view and those who don't believe in the multiple use concept.

Write your Congresspersons, especially McHenry, Foxx, Burr, and Hagen to oppose this designation. It wouldn't hurt to write state representatives as well. Please do this today.

Radical environmental groups are well funded, and growing stronger each year. Fighting them takes time and energy, but common sense and sound judgement has prevailed on 3 occasions. Your letters and phone calls will make a difference. Make those public servants serve the public, not radical, extremist special interest groups.

Thank you Blogger for posting this thread and thanks again Mr. Faulks for the superlative post.

Johnny Rico

PS Cindy, do you like the show "Happy Days"?

Anonymous said...

Guy is right about Watauga Watch. Out of 9 threads, I was censored on 7 because it hurt their argument.

Reader said...

Guy, I have to agree...great information! Thanks.

Johnny Rico said...

Guy, again I have to congratulat you on perhaps the best post I have ever seen on Watauga Conservative.

Johnny Rico said...

The Grandfather Mountain Scenic area has again been in the news as part of a multi-part series in the High Country Press. Two authors, Val Maiewski-Hay and Randy Johnson, attempted to make the point that the Grandfather Mountain Scenic area makes sense to pass legislatively.

In part one of the slanted series, Johnson introduces the Scenic Area concept as a method of preventing logging which, he says, will negatively impact tourism. Johnson also says the Forest Service is unreliable in how they manage land in the Grandfather Mountain area and additional protections are needed.

I disagree with Mr. Johnson in his assessment. Here's why:

1. If the US Forest Service can't be trusted to manage Pisgah National Forest, then how can they be trusted to manage a scenic area?

2. Johnson says the scenic area is now about tourism, not logging. Out with the old and in with the new is the mantra sung by proponets of the scenic area designation. Johnson says logging is not what will give the best use of the Pisgah National Forest between Blowing Rock and Linville. Tourism, he says, is.

This is flawed because tourists flock to this area whether or not our forests experience logging or not. In the 1980s, logging took place in the Globe area, and I didn't notice any difference in tourism. Nor did I ever hear a complaint from tourists. The people I heard complaining were rich land owners around the rim of Blowing Rock, particularly the Mayview Section.

3. Logging is an eyesore. Really? Within 1 season after the Globe logging took place, it was almost impossible to tell where this logging had occured, even to the trained eye.

Johnny Rico said...

5. Johnson says hunting won't be affected. Wrong. As Johnson admits, Scenic area designation meets the "needs defined by the community to fit its needs."

The only needs of the community that aren't being met are the hunters, trappers, and shooters who increasingly have no access to areas of the National Forest that they once had. National Forests are closing routes that used to be open for vehicular travel. And we need even more stringent protection that will further hamper hunters, shooters, and trappers who attempt to enjoy the National Forest?

6. Randy Johnson and other fringe left liberals manufacture a non-existant problem. Our National Forests already have uber stringent protections. The only reason for a National Scenic Area is define what a narrow group wants to occur in an area of public land that exist under the multiple use concept. Wild South and other groups don't advocate for hunting. Bird watching, hiking, mountain biking and like activites are extolled by these radical groups. Rest assured, hunting, shooting, and trapping are not uses these groups advocate for. Ask one of them about trapping and see what kind of answer you get!!

Johnny Rico said...

With this information as a background, let us look at the more salient points attempted by Val Maiewskij-Hay and Johnson.

Val says Scenic Area designation is needed because Wilderness Area designation is too hard to get. This shows the true intention of the designation is to restrict activity as much as possible within the scenic area. No road building, no logging, no activities that don't meet approval from the do-gooders.

Val goes on to say, in Part II of the series that US Forest Service Plans can change, thus we need permanant protection. This is unfounded and not true. Forest Service plans, if looked at on a timeline since establishment Pisgah under the invasive 1911 Weeks Act, will show a progressively stricter managed forest over time. I remember deer hunting on Yellow Buck Mountain, Persimmon Ridge, Hughes Ridge and many, many other areas in Pisgah. These routes are no longer open for vehicular travel. In fact, the current Forest Mangagement Plan for the Globe/Grandfather section of Pisgah is so restrictive that many areas are under a SELF IMPOSED LOGGING MORATORIUM. The problem Val and Randy manufacture has already been taken care of by, guess who, the US Forest Service.

Many locals who live and work next to Pisgah understand the increasing regulations imposed by the Forest Service. The Scenic Area designation is being proposed, designed, and implemented by outsiders from Ashville, Atlanta and many other places far removed from Pisgah. These elitest believe they know what is best for everyone else when in fact they know very little of Pisgah.

Johnny Rico said...

Val says other scenic areas have met with success, particularly in Virginia. She says people in those areas have accepted the scenic area designations, including many hunters worried about access. Great for Virginia. Here, we don't need a Scenic Area Designation because we already have success. With little or no logging allowed, why would we want to INCREASE TOURISM in the High Country?

Do we want thousands of additional people each year on newly built hiking and biking trails. How does that preserve ecology within Pisgah? Look what happened when the Parkway cut across Grandfather Mountain. Hiking trails were immediately established and rangers (Randy, weren't you one of those Grandfather Rangers?) rapidly saw impacts to endangered plants on Grandfather (Myrtle Grass). What did they expect when they opened trails across pristine areas to the hordes? Trust me, those areas that were once bear hunted by local mountain families are used and abused. Rock climbers on Rough Ridge have denuded the area around many rock outcroppings. Is this what we want for the Pisgah Forest - more tourists and environmental destruction?

I can't understand how anyone could claim to be a preserver of Pisgah and in the same breath promote tourism in that very same forest. Amazing. Randy and Val, if you believe tourists are the answer then you must love all the building that has occured in Watauga and Avery counties DUE TO THE SAME TOURISTS YOU WANT TO INVITE into the Pisgah. You will defeat the very principle you claim to be so important!!!! What are you thinking??

Hunters, trappers, and shooters have the absolute lowest impact on the environment of any user group, especially in the Pisgah. They also pay tremendous sums of money, far more than any conservation organization, for wildlife, conservation, and land acquistion. Try and not forget that inconvienant fact as your ramming the scenic area down our throats.

Randy alludes the scenic area represents the "greatest good", a term coined when National Forests were first concieved. If they can outlaw timber harvesting for the greatest good then hunting, road building, shooting and trapping will surely be next.

The greatest good concept sounds like something out of Stalinist Russia.

Johnny Rico said...

Val and Randy go into great detail about clear cutting on Grandfather and the Globe in the early 20th century. They outline the forest fires and floods that denuded our mountains during that time. I believe they were cleverly drawing a parallel between what happened ON PRIVATE LAND in 1905 and 137 acres of timber harvest in Thunderhole (Globe). Do you think our forest could possibly be totally clearcut like they were in 1905? With the protections we already have in place, coupled with public sentiment (look at the opposition to a mere 137 acre timber harvest), it is not even worth considering that this would occur today.

Two questions. First, if our forests were so denuded from 1905-1920 then why didn't it staunch tourism then? Many of the elegant homes in Mayview Park Blowing Rock, including Mayview Manor, were built during that time. Your tourism theory doesn't hold water.

2nd, one of the major complaints of those opposed to the Thunderhole timber harvest pointed to VIRGIN TIMBER with trees over 300 years old. If this is the case, then the turn of the century timber harvest must not been as evasive as indicated.

What is the end state utopia the environmentalists (environmedalists) want? Designer coffee shops, outdoor stores, poetry reading on the corner and micro-breweries?

How about a few gun stores in that eclectic utopia!!

Johnny Rico said...

A question. Suspiciously absent from the scenic area articles is Backbone Ridge. This area, nearly 1000 acres along Old Johns River Road, is being bought from a supposed land developer by a conservation group. The group intends on then selling the land to the Forest Service. This acquistion has never made headlines for some odd reason. What never made headlines either is the fact the land developer (was he really a land developer) paid for the Blowing Rock Fire Substation on Highway 221. A lot of land acquistion going on behind the scenes, made more suspicious by the fact Johnson and Val never mentioned it.

Some say the overall goal of radical environemntal groups is depopulation of rural areas. Is that what is occuring with the Grandfather Scenic Designation? The Globe, Edgemont, Mortimer and Gragg have a rich history in the local area. Is this history and culture being discounted and even reviled by groups seeking Scenic Area Designation? Many questions remain.

Johnny Rico said...

Finally, we have the question of politics. Val and Randy try and blame the lack of action on scenic area designation on Virginia Foxx and Representaive McHenry. Blame it on those darned ole Republicans again.

Randy, did you know it was Virginia Foxx who colluded with the Town of Blowing Rock to give 190 acres in Thunderhole to the Blue Ridge Parkway in exchange for 15 uneeded acres at the current town resevoir? This was one of the last parcels of hunting land available to local residents. The real reason for this trade was because a few town politicians owned land above the 190 acre parcel and were ardent anti-hunters. You probably have more of a friend in the liberal Virginia Foxx than you think.

Johnson says Heath Shuler has a favorable view of the Grandfather Mountain Scenic Area.

Call Heath Shuler immediatly and insist he distance himself from this insiduous form of government intrusion into our lives. We already have enough government regulation when it comes to Pisgah. No more is needed. The thousands of extra tourists are welcome to stay away. As a hunter, trapper and shooter, I don't want to see the Pisgah denuded like many other areas have been. And I sure don't want my Pisgah use dictated by radical, fringe left environmentalists.

Johnny Rico said...

Blogger, thanks for posting this thread.

Hey, are you RINO County Commissioners reading this? How will YOU respond to the Grandfather Scenic Area?

inquiring mind said...

I agree with Johnny Ricco. This is the last place where the "poor man" can vacation. My family roots are from the Globe, Edgemont area. When I was younger we swam in the swimming holes and dove from the cliffs of Wilson Creek. I hunted with my Dad there. We would camp for over the weekends and during the Thanksgiving Holiday, we would stay a week. When they were constructing on 321 I took my son down the Globe path and we stopped off to visit Brown Mountain Beach and then we visited all of the familiar watering holes. I remember my son committing when we made our first stop to visit a familiar diving hole; he said "Mom, why haven't I ever seen this place before!?" This was a question I couldn't answer. I took him once on a trip in the fall down the entire road coming from Lenior to Linville; we had to cross over and under logs in the road - what an adventure. This about as close as we will ever get to our heritage. Please no more scenic designations or takings by the government. Don't widen or pave the road; that will take care of it; that is what has taken care of it so far. And, definitely don't let the Watauga TDA get their dirty little hands in the pie. SHHHH!

Anyone interested in family history: 2 books - "The Globe", "The Globe Revisited"; there is an historical timeline in a spiral bound of Edgemont and then there is the "Globe Baptist Church" records at UNC-CH historical archives (copies are available; not sure that they allow inspection of the original any longer).

Does anyone know if the Jamestown Settlement was in that area or was it over on the Yadkin River? The Botts, Francum families?

guy faulkes said...

Let me make a comment on the effect of "hiking" trails vs. hunting. The big cliffs of the Lost Cove are located on Long Ridge off of Jonas Ridge in Avery County. About midway between the the access point of the trail and the cliffs is a finger ridge that is covered in hickories and oaks. It is some of the best squirrel habitat anywhere. However, it is very difficult to hunt this ridge because of the tourists. It takes about 30 minutes to get from this ridge to the cliffs themselves. About every twenty minutes a hiker will come by on his way to the cliffs. He is usually carrying a backpack that would allow me to stay in the woods for three days. He is usually making a huge amount of noise and thereby scaring the squirrels into hiding. These "outdoors men" stay at the cliffs for about 30 minutes and then come back out. This is not conducive to hunting. If they happen to see you as they walk right by you (it does not happen that often because they are not really looking at their surroundings), you are going to hear "There's a guy with a GUN. Oh My God!! Do they allow HUNTING in here? GASP!!!" They then go on their merry way decrying hunting all the way to the access point.

Promoting tourism (which is how I beleive Mr. Johnson made his living) is fine, but if taken the wrong way, it will be used to stop hunting. A scenic area could very easily be used to curtail hunting and even the establishment of food plots for wildlife. God Forbid if you want to trail ride or are disabled, because they will allow for no access for the handicapped.

I do not have a problem with Tourons walking the trails, but I do have a problem with them trying to stop the multi-use of the Forests. I really have a problem with people that do not know a beech from a birch telling me about how the woods should be maintained or people that buy hamburger not wanting me to hunt.

Inquiring Mind said...

Johnny Ricco wrote: ..."the Grandfather Mountain National Scenic Designation is an insiduous effort by liberals to control the actions of others."
AMEN!!!!!!

Let me add, that their Greenways are another way to fence out the landowner control the actions of others.

Are you "Jimmy Deal" Country Club" "Rhino" Republicans paying attention?

inquiring mind said...

That would be "RINO" Republicans (Republican In Name Only.

The government owns way too much land as it is. And, that don't own, they tax to death.

Inquiring Mind said...

Johnny Rico said...

5. Johnson says hunting won't be affected. Wrong. As Johnson admits, Scenic area designation meets the "needs defined by the community to fit its needs."

The only needs of the community that aren't being met are the hunters, trappers, and shooters who increasingly have no access to areas of the National Forest that they once had. National Forests are closing routes that used to be open for vehicular travel. And we need even more stringent protection that will further hamper hunters, shooters, and trappers who attempt to enjoy the National Forest?

6. Randy Johnson and fringe left liberals manufacture a non-existant problem. Our National Forests already have uber stringent protections. The only reason for a National Scenic Area is define what a narrow group wants to occur in an area of public land that exist under the multiple use concept. Wild South and other groups don't advocate for hunting. Bird watching, hiking, mountain biking and like activites are extolled by these radical groups. Rest assured, hunting, shooting, and trapping are not uses these groups advocate for. Ask one of them about trapping and see what kind of answer you get!!

Banner Elk Billy said...

Caution on many outdoor oriented groups. They could care less about hunting. I donated to the "conservation group" that purchased the 190 acre parcel that Rico speaks of in Blowing Rock. The conservation group said hunting would be allowed on the land. After purchase, it was then purchased by the Town of Blowing Rock who immediately outlawed hunting. Now it is being traded to the Park Service who also outlaws hunting and does no wildlife conservation whatsoever. The conservation group, when questioned on their promise to allow hunting on the land, backtracked saying their intent was to protect the land which was more important than hunting. I won't be donating anymore to land acquistion groups. I am also against the Grandfather Scenic Area. Glad someone has the guts to speak out.