This is obviously a religious issue with some people, but to suggest that OWASA's land around Cane Creek Reservoir (a man made lake) would ever, in a thousand years, resemble Joyce Kilmer is absurd. Let's compare....
Joyce Kilmer has a hunting season as a part of their management plan. OWASA's Cane Creek land currently does not. Maybe someone should propose that to OWASA.
Continuing with the comparison....
JK is a 17,000 acre area that was never cleared, well buffered from development by the 650,000 acre Cherokee National Forest and the 500,000 acre Pisgah NF, not to mention the GSMNP. By contrast, the OWASA owned land at the reservoir (largely grown up pasture and fields), is far less than 2000 acres surrounded by little patches of farms and houses. The spatial integrity of the forests in JK, along with the habitat that a forest core provides, cannot be conjured from thin air.
All I'm suggesting is that sustainable management could provide a path towards protecting more land from development that would, in turn, help contribute to water quality and further the mission of the organization that owns the land.
You can learn more at chapelhillwaterquality.org
In response to the comments below - Your belief that we should just leave the land alone, I assume that doesn't extend to stream restoration, invasive species management, prescribed fire, etc. Indeed all of these activities are man imposing his values on the landscape.
OWASA surely could leave it all alone. As one of my ecology professors once said, " It's an idea... not a good one, but it is an idea." Why? Because that picturesque idea of balance you describe is really more a myth than a reality in this highly fragmented and domesticated landscape. Even in the context of old growth, ecologists have learned to talk about it in terms of a shifting mosaic instead of a climax forest.
If OWASA had proposed a plan that permanently dedicates roughly a third of its land into a de facto wilderness area, wouldn't that make the news? Wouldn't people be ecstatic? Oh, wait....that's what they already did.
In response to the comment below - If people truly want wilderness in their backyard, they need to understand that wildfires and disease will almost certainly consume some of the neighboring properties, especially with the drought conditions we've been experiencing. You cannot talk about wilderness without also talking about allowing fires to burn. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park deals with this by supressing all the fires near developed areas (in Zone 1), which, if the same standards were applied to Cane Creek reservoir would include the entirety of OWASA's land.
They also need to understand the not all of OWASA's land around the reservoir was purchased for water quality protection and if people remove OWASA's ability to manage this land effectively, they will have no reason to keep it. It will be sold to someone who will not care nearly as much about your opinions. Those proceeds will be used to buy other land that holds more promise for water quality protection. Would you rather see OWASA sell some of their existing land or manage it in a sustainable way so that they can retain and add to the land that they already own? That is the real question.
The whole idea of preservation should be left to museums and historical societies as it does not apply to land. You can try to preserve the existance of a species, but land is dynamic and you can't "preserve" it by drawing a line around it and walking away. That philosophy is rooted in the belief that man is separate from nature and can't live in nature without destroying it. I believe that man is a part of nature, that we all rely upon natural resources and it is our duty to find the best way to conserve natural resources so that the people who come after us are truly better off.
TLC, by the way, has started buying up more land, but they have also cut timber. Personally, I think their buying land has been more a byproduct of a conservation director who would rather drag big projects out over years than do what land trusts were originally intended.... to benefit private landowners for doing a public good while allowing them to continue owning their property. But as they ignore that need, many Soil and Water Conservation districts have started accepting easements and for-profit ventures such as Unique Places, LLC have been stepping up by facilitating conservation easements.
And, yes, I agree with you, we should keep our rural areas rural and focus on efficient development and quality public transport. We just differ in opinion as to how that should be accomplished and what unintended consequences may occur if people aren't careful.
Jeff - If you're referring to what I wrote at http://www.chapelhillwaterquality.org
I didn't gloss over anything. There are other ways of dealing with woody sprouts than using herbicide. Nobody at the meeting said that herbicide was essential. That being said, the main chemical used is little different than chemicals used residentially and is used once every 30 years or so - not every year... but if the board would rather have it done without chemicals then that is very feasible. I was actually surprised that this article focused so much on herbicides because there is so much more worth discussing.
This article starts with two sentences
1. "the draft proposal calls for leaving at least 25 percent–30 percent of the property shown as buffer."
2. ".... they paraded rangers and wildlife experts who supported the plan to cull 1,900 acres of trees on 17 tracts..."
If you want to write something provocative, it's best not to contradict yourself before you've even finished a paragraph.
To learn more, visit http://www.chapelhillwaterquality.org
To learn more, visit www.chapelhillwaterquality.org
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