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Murder in the Smoky Mountains

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The report earlier this year by the National Parks Conservation Association which clearly evidences the demise of the ecosystems of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is appalling. It cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.

I am always passionate, often opinionated, usually stubborn, sometimes wrong…but I’m not wrong about this.

The report states, in part, that the ground level ozone and acid rain threaten the health of park visitors, staff, vegetation, soils and streams; that air pollution has diminished visibility from an average of 113 miles to an average of 25 miles; that the park is grossly understaffed and underfunded; and, that nonnative pests and diseases are killing off Fraser firs, hemlocks, dogwoods, butternuts and beech trees.

If man pollutes the air of his own habitats, then so be it. People have the ability to make conscious choices regarding the air they breathe, the food they eat, and the places they go, but the indigenous life in the park does not.

In February, 2001, experimental release of elk was begun in an attempt to repopulate animals which haven’t been seen in North Carolina since the late eighteenth century. They were eliminated by over-hunting (STOP IT!) and loss of their usual habitats. Stunning and rare red-wolves are among the treasured species of wildlife in the National Park, along with more than 200 species of birds. In the fall, Golden eagles come through the park and wonderful black bears and their families reside there all year around.

As is my usual primary consideration, to allow the environmental murder of a place which is the home of these animals is a travesty. However, aside from my animal concerns, there is a human consideration as well. We have a responsibility to nurture these places and their furry, feathery and fluffy inhabitants for future generations. Our children and their children are entitled to know them, enjoy them, learn from them, and be inspired by them. There are no more beautiful wild-flowers on the planet (outside of Texas bluebonnets) than those in places like Cades Cove in the spring and summer.

I am not a tree hugger, and recognize that certain degradation of our natural resources is an inevitable product of civilization. I am, however, an animal lover, and this directly steps on my Texas toes. While we are spending billions of dollars to find extra-terrestrial life, and billions of dollars to make weapons to kill and/or defend our fellow men (all worthy endeavors which I support), we can be creative enough to spend what we need to spend to protect something equally as important.

Future generations of writers and poets will be diminished if a course correction isn’t made (clever how I got that writing ‘thang’ in there, wasn’t it?)

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About Claire

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Excellent entry, Claire. I am a conservative Republican, but, believe it or not, I share your environmental concern.

    Not that I want to sign up to the Kyoto Treaty, and I don’t believe in global warming, but if there’s one criticism of my party that I will make, it’s that the Republicans could be a bit more “with it” on enviromnetalism.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    mark, you’ll believe in global warming after fenway park is under water.

    though maybe after this weekend it won’t matter.

  • Claire

    Mark (Manning)…I am a republican conservative too, I agree with you completely, and lets get T-shirts :)

    Thank you so much for reading and responding…

    Claire

  • Claire

    Mark (saleski) :) The Yankees will take care of that under water thing…lol…

    If it can’t be the Yankee’s, may God Bless the Red Sox!!!

    Claire

  • andy

    BLASPHEMY!!!!God bless the red sox…how can you say such a thing!!!

  • Claire

    Well, hell, Andy, first I said the Yankees would bury them…and since the cubbies aren’t in the running…I wish the best for the Sox, if the yankees can’t get there….

    I am ashamed now :( hanging head…

    Claire

  • andy

    I forgive you Claire…Go Yankees…
    WHO’s YOUR DADDY!!!
    WHO’s YOUR DADDY!!!

  • Claire

    Who’s my daddy? Would Joe Torre be an acceptable answer? :)

    Claire

  • Claire

    NOW, will you get back to my eco-system, my furry creatures, and the wildflowers…!!! (grinning)

    Claire

  • andy marsh

    Joe Torre is a great answer…now you want my opinion on furry creatures???boy I could really spin that one…but I’ll behave…
    I’m not sure that I see all the ecological issues that some others see. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon 3 times over about a 20 year period and it looked as breathtaking the last time as it did the first time.
    Where I deer hunt in NJ is actually behind a new landfill and on top of an old one. And all this is along the fences of a Naval Weapons Station. But hey, that’s Jersey for you.
    I know, I know, hunting is a bad thing to some, but it is necessary! And I do eat what I kill. I’ve gone through that part in another post, so I won’t bore you to tears again.
    You ask questions that have no right and wrong answers Claire. STOP IT!

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Mark S.: [about Fenway being under water] “though maybe after this weekend it won’t matter.”

    I totally agree with you on that point, Mark. Oh well, Yankees still suck.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Ugh, Andy, a Stankees fan! Oh well, I’ll overlook that!

    But, I will say that I really like and respect Joe Torre. He’s a really decent man. Plus, he’s never said a bad word about the Red Sox – he always talks about what a great team Boston has. Despite the renewed rivalry, he has never trash-talked the Sox the way Billy Martin, et al. have.

  • andy marsh

    Claire’s not gonna be happy obout this, getting off topic again…what can I tell you. I’m a jersey boy…it was either them or the mets…and really…who can root for the mets???

  • Claire

    Claire isn’t a tight-ass about being off topic…after all you had to read my piece and get here before we turned to sports :) If the piece got one person to think about the problems in our national parks, or the environment in general, or made me a new friend, then it was worth the time.

    It would be pointless for me to bring up the rangers, but I can’t forego the opportunity without jumping in the air with my pom poms and screaming “Go Cowboys!”…

    Yankees or Red Sox…I love them both, as long as ONE of them beats that “other team”….

    Claire

  • andy marsh

    Claire Claire Claire…the cowgirls??? and we were doing so well together…has TX corrupted you that much? Being the diehard Giants fan that I am, I must say I’m very very disappointed!

  • Claire

    Andy, I have had a lifelong love affair with them. They are ma’ boys. I sleep in a cowboys practice jersey, they have given endlessly to my “causes”, and they must win the superbowl.

    I have no quarrel with the Giants. Only with the Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles (whose fans, I might say are rabid and crazy). As long it is not those two teams…I can support others as well as ma’ boys :)

    Claire

  • andy marsh

    I guess I need to be a little more tolerant…oh wait…that’s the other post!!!

  • Claire

    I have learned, Andy, that sports and sporting has special dispensation for intolerance. I learned it as a woman first (who, when taken on hunting trips would make noises to scare or alert Bambi to impending danger)…I learned it on a fishing trip when I released a 6lb 12 oz. largemouth bass to swim happily away while men stood around calling me everything but a …well…

    I learned it at a Cowboys game when a Philly fan poured a beer on my head…

    It is something I have come to accept. With grace…LOL…

    Claire

  • andy marsh

    Well, I would never pour a beer on your head…that’s alcohol abuse!

  • Claire

    True, but he said it was the best $3.50 he ever spent…after the boys won, I offered him his $3.50 back…he told me to fuck off. Such gallantry!

    Claire

  • andy marsh

    $3.50? must have been a while ago!!!