Dear Editor: Reading extensive pontifications written by folks who don't know what they are talking about is as useless as watching grass grow. One of your weekly columnists Barbara Morgan, along with Cheryl Delk, seem to be some of these people.
Having failed at rails to trails and now with heat on the legions of bike people who clog our roads and streets and leave trash and bottles in our yards keep shoppers from being able to get to their local destinations, yet another unworthy project comes to light.
"Blue Trails," wow, a marketing name made in heaven! I must point out that brother to Barbara, Davis Morgan, as Chairman of the Newton County Board of Commissioners some years ago announced the Alcovy River would make a great place for canoeing, hiking and picnics.
When I heard about this ‘plan' I immediately called the Chairman and said, "What on earth are you thinking!" I've been on many of the class five rivers on the east coast and one on the other side of the mighty Mississip and in my opinion the Alcovy is more dangerous than any one of those. And the Yellow River isn't far behind.
Chairman Davis Morgan told me he had hired a consultant to set up how the plan would be implemented. I was able to get in touch with the consultant (JB) and he told me point blank that after researching the project it would be entirely too dangerous a route to send people, families onto and he was recommending the plan be scrapped.
I live on the Yellow River, in the middle of a swamp that I hope to preserve. I love it here. Why would anyone live in a swamp? My youth was spent on the Alcovy River and those memories of the bounty of the river and wetlands are a part of me. To be preserved, not used up.
Those few people who chose to live in the wilderness are not like the new urbanites who wish to use the river for their purpose, but rather wish to let it be and to protect it.
You don't really get a taste of the ‘outsiders' until, for example, one Sunday morning I hear chain saws down on the river and go to see what is happening. As my Doberman and my cowboy lever rifle approach (Many times they have weapons bigger than yours) we find a large boat in the river and two rafts of men cutting trees from the banks. When asked what they think they are doing cutting my trees they respond, "We ski up here and the trees are in our way!!!" I stated that I pay taxes on this land and as long as I do I will determine what happens here. Their response, "We didn't think anybody owned this land."
So, just to give you some perspective from both sides, one side being those of us with preservation in our souls and then there are those new urbanites who wish to use it up. You cannot tell me that if such a program was instituted (Blue Trails) we wouldn't damage and infringe on this already fragile nature as well as jeopardize the lives of unknowing persons having been invited to ‘tour our blue trails'.
Ironically, not long ago a family, husband, wife and child was lost on the Alcovy and had to be rescued during the night. How much more do you need to know?
If you want to go on a river to hike or canoe, please go to a river that is big enough, safe enough, and not under the environmental stress our local rivers are under today. The Alcovy, the Yellow and the South Rivers are gradually coming back from years of chemical spills, untreated sewerage and abuse.
Don't come to my place and expect a red carpet welcome because you won't find one here.
Neither do my neighbors on the other rivers in Newton County want the mess left behind, fire danger to their timber farms, or any other intrusions by the ‘outsiders' and rather than government agencies, the land owners have been and will continue to be the best stewards of these last bastions of natural wetlands.
Maybe Mars actually did look like the Earth at some point in time. It just got all used up.
Samuel M. Hay, III