Blue Ridge Parkway top natural wonder in NC

Project documenting the old growth and special forests along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shennandoah National Park in Virginia and North Carolina.

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway top natural wonder in NC

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Wed Nov 24, 2010 6:18 pm

Every time I drive on the Parkway or that horrid Cherohala Skyway all I can think is how many tens of thousands of acres of wilderness were utterly screwed by gouging that road along the highest ridges. I dream of it someday being buried, the roadbed filled in, the route replanted with native trees and shrubs, with only trails where road once ruined the landscape. Yeah, I know. It ain't gonna happen, but it's my dream. Just think of the mass of wilderness you could create merely by tearing up the Parkway and NC 215. Middle Prong and Shining Rock would be joined as one enormous tract that could be extended for miles in every direction. Plus, imagine how less crowded Shining Rock would be without that high elevation access along the Parkway. Heaven!

The Cherohala must have wrecked what had to have been one of the largest roadless wilderness areas that was left in the southern Appalachians. What a horrible crime!

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway top natural wonder in NC

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:53 am

I've been on the Parkway near Boone and had people speed by doing 70-80 mph. They can't enforce the speed limits because the NP Service is being bled to death by right wingers in Congress. They want to kill off the Dept. of the Interior and completely hand off our public lands and natural resources to corporate billionaires.

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dbhguru
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway top natural wonder in NC

Post by dbhguru » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:51 am

Robert,

You speak to a real problem, one that has been of steadily growing concern to me. I fear that the "quality" of the average Parkway traveler is on the decline, despite more information being available to visitors than ever before. Excessive speed is robbing the Parkway of its once gentle appeal. Consequently, I'm now rethinking my Blue Ridge Parkway book project. I'm less confident of its value. I've never fooled myself about the level of forest knowledge possessed by the average Parkway traveler, past or present, but if people moved slower and stopped more often, there would be the possibility of interesting them in learning about the forests. However, I don't see people developing much interest at 60 MPH. Heck, they don't even notice the views anymore.

I'm still interested in providing the Blue Ridge Parkway staff with data on the Parkway's trees and forests, but pursuing the subject at the level of an educational book for the general public is no longer particularly attractive. I suppose the argument can be made that the book should be written for those few souls who actually notice the trees along the Parkway. There's no honor in abandoning those with a reql interest. But that objective could be accomplished through less time-consuming Internet options such as our BBS. Some reorganization would be needed, but big ED could implement the changes fairly easily - I think. Maybe this is just end-of-year blues. I would appreciate comments from NTS members.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Joe

Re: Blue Ridge Parkway top natural wonder in NC

Post by Joe » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:52 am

jamesrobertsmith wrote:Every time I drive on the Parkway or that horrid Cherohala Skyway all I can think is how many tens of thousands of acres of wilderness were utterly screwed by gouging that road along the highest ridges. I dream of it someday being buried, the roadbed filled in, the route replanted with native trees and shrubs, with only trails where road once ruined the landscape. Yeah, I know. It ain't gonna happen, but it's my dream. Just think of the mass of wilderness you could create merely by tearing up the Parkway and NC 215. Middle Prong and Shining Rock would be joined as one enormous tract that could be extended for miles in every direction. Plus, imagine how less crowded Shining Rock would be without that high elevation access along the Parkway. Heaven!

The Cherohala must have wrecked what had to have been one of the largest roadless wilderness areas that was left in the southern Appalachians. What a horrible crime!
watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6quIrIj ... UGEAsGBYLG to see how roads are built on hill tops here in western New England to install "wind farms"- a rape of the hill tops but a fascinating video
Joe

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edfrank
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Re: Blue Ridge Parkway top natural wonder in NC

Post by edfrank » Sun Dec 18, 2011 12:02 pm

Bob L.,

I want to encourage you to continue the book project. In reality most people are not just using the parkway as a commuting path, or someplace to feel the G's as they speed along curved roads. Most people are traveling the road to view the scenery and to find an escape from their daily grind. People stop at the myriad of pull outs. You see even the overweight people struggling to walk up to the tops of some of the more accessible mountains. Many people will hike a short stretch of the Appalachian Trail, just to say they have done some portion of it. Those who are zipping through are a small proportion of all of the visitors. The vast majority of people who visit the Parkway are interested in the experience of the area should not be ignored simply because of an inconsiderate few. The most visited park in the country is nearby Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It really isn't part of a commute to anywhere. People are visiting there because of it is a NP and they want to experience a piece of the natural world. People go there as a destination, the same can said to be true of the Parkway. Most people are visiting the parkway as a destination itself, maybe in conjunction with visits to Shenandoah NP and the Smokies. A good book that would allow then to learn about the forests and history of the site would be a valuable addition that would greatly enhance their experience. Our actions and values should not be dictated by a rapacious few who care for nothing and no one but themselves and their own shallow existence.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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