Response to “Where is the Ark?” Friday, Sept. 28

Published 8:53 am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

To the editor:
When the Lord asked Noah to save two of every living thing, he apparently wanted all his earthly creatures to be saved including the spotted owl.  When God made a covenant with Noah and his descendants to have dominion over the earth, he did not mean for mankind to destroy it; instead, he meant for us to practice wise stewardship.  Conservation is the wise use of our God given natural resources (soil, minerals, water, forests, plants and animals).
By the beginning of the 20th century, many of God’s creatures were on the brink of extinction due to overhunting and habitat destruction.  Many bird species were almost killed out for their breeding plumage to adorn ladies’ hats – the fashion at that time. In 1905, one of the first game wardens hired by the National Audubon Society to protect birds in the Florida Everglades was killed by plume hunters. Have you ever seen photographs taken during this same time period of Western North Carolina, including the Columbus and Tryon area?  In the background, the pictures captured our eroding, deforested mountains. The erosion silted our streams – killing most of our native speckled trout and many other species.
At the eleventh hour, several government agencies were created to conserve our natural resources. President Theodore Roosevelt (Republican) established what later became the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Forest Service and the National Park Service.  Later in 1935, during the dust bowl, President Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat) established what is now called the Natural Resource Conservation Service to protect our soils and farmlands.  After years of severe pollution, the Love Canal disaster inspired President Richard Nixon (Republican) in 1970 to establish the Environmental Protection Agency.
Because of the foresight of these presidents and our government; our soil, water, air, forest and wildlife are making a remarkable comeback. Today, in Western North Carolina we are privileged to have the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. They also provide great tourism and jobs.
We are very lucky to live in a democratic country where we have freedom of speech and the liberty to elect our local, state and federal representatives.  Contrary to what some people may think, our elected officials do not sit around and casually make up rules, ordinances and laws.  They work tirelessly to design legislations not to take away our liberties, but to solve safety issues, problems and conflicts.
My family has lived in this area for more than 250 years and several of my ancestors fought at the Battle of King’s Mountain during the Revolutionary War.  If they were alive today, they would be appalled by Chocolate Drop and dismayed at the way our elected commissioners have been treated at recent public hearings.
Freedom is the liberty to voice one’s opinion in a civil manner, not to jeer and threaten to “tar and feather” elected officials!
– Louise Rhodes, Mill Spring

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