Courageous visionaries, volunteers to restore Chocolate Drop

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, January 21, 2016

Betsy Burdette’s “Chocolate Drop: Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear,” Tryon Daily Bulletin, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, was inspiring and gratifying to read, because it makes public what few people know.

With the generous award of two grants from The Polk County Community Foundation, the Saluda Community Land Trust has been able “to cover operating expenses incurred in processing foreclosures and gifts from Chocolate Drop lot owners interested in divesting themselves of their ownership rights.”  To know that Saluda Community Land Trust now owns nearly half the mountain, with a view to acquiring more land and building walking trails for the community is balm to my soul.

Those, who despite concerted effort were not able to prevent the sale of Chocolate Drop to a developer, can now rejoice that Chocolate Drop has become a story of hope. Our thanks to those courageous visionaries and volunteers who, by their example, spurred a community to come together and to work together to begin the restoration of Chocolate Drop’s beauty for the benefit of Polk County residents and visitors.

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As someone who happily scampered up Chocolate Drop Mountain many a time before the developers purchased it, and as someone who rued the eventual destruction and erosion of Chocolate Drop’s pristine beauty, the deeds of selfless and generous individual volunteers, the plan of visionaries, and The Polk County Community Foundation’s facilitation of accomplishing that plan, make me smile with gratitude.

What for years has seemed a great tragedy has the appearance of being an increasingly successful and concerted effort to help nature along in restoring Chocolate Drop Mountain’s beauty and charm.

Truly, Polk County is an inspiring community. There is no place like it. Thank you.

Patricia Gass
Columbus, N.C.