Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - 16

mountain report

Appalachian Trail Conference
Denounces Pipeline

And in North Carolina. Swain County collects part of a 74-year-old debt.
by Cathryn McCue

John and Dee Julian pause on the Appalachian Trail in front of the 324-acre purchase on Tennessee's Hump Mountain by the Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.

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ArouND ThE rEgIoN

kENTuCky

NorTh CArolINA

TENNEssEE

vIrgINIA

The proposed Mountain
Valley Pipeline that
would carry fracked natural gas through West
Virginia and Virginia
faces mounting opposition. In a rare move,
the Appalachian Trail
Conservancy denounced
the project, which would
leave a scar across the
mountains visible off
and on for 75 miles
along the footpath. Five
organizations filed suit
against West Virginia
for approving a water
pollution permit. And
hundreds of citizens
turned out at hearings
in Virginia to oppose the
pipeline and the similar
proposed Atlantic Coast
Pipeline. Government
decisions on the projects
are expected by year's
end. appalachiantrail.org

Biologists note trends
for two wildlife species
- one positive, and one
not. Once listed as federally endangered, bald
eagles are making an
impressive comeback,
particularly in eastern
Kentucky. Nesting pairs
statewide have doubled
in the last seven years, to
164. Meanwhile, the endemic Kentucky arrow
darter was listed under
the federal Endangered
Species Act. The fish has
disappeared from 36 of
74 sites, mostly since the
mid-'90s, as mountaintop removal coal mining
contributed to stream
pollution. About 250
stream miles in 10 counties are now designated
as "critical habitat" for
the darter. biologicaldiversity.org

Swain County will
soon receive $4 million
from the Department
of Interior as part of
the government's 1943
pledge to compensate
the county for flooding a
road in what is now the
Great Smoky Mountains
National Park to create
Fontana Lake. The National Park Service had
intended to replace the
road by building a fourlane highway through
one of the most remote
and pristine sections of
the park, but, after years
of opposition from local
citizens and environmental organizations,
instead agreed in 2007
to a monetary settlement of $52 million. To
date, the county has
received $12.8 million.
http://bit.ly/2r2C6FC

A long-standing priority of the Southern
Appalachian Highlands
Conservancy was realized recently with the
purchase of 324 acres on
Hump Mountain in the
Highlands of Roan. The
tract provides important
habitat for several flora
and fauna, and at just
500 feet from the Appalachian Trail, is vital to
the vista of grassy balds
in that area. "Its serenity
and beauty will remain
intact because we are
leaving it in good hands,"
says Zack Julian, whose
family owned the land
for generations. The deal
was made possible by
philanthropists Fred and
Alice Stanback, a federal
grant, and a loan from
The Conservation Fund.
appalachian.org

A major fish kill in July
in Tinker Creek - made
famous in Annie Dillard's
"Pilgrim at Tinker Creek"
- prompted officials
to temporarily restrict
public access to the waterway. About 165 gallons
of agricultural chemical
Termix 5301 spilled into
the stream from a nearby
business. About 40,000
fish died, according to
the state Department of
Environmental Quality, which continues to
monitor the area. By
mid-August, the material
had mostly diluted and
flushed downstream. No
long-term impacts are
anticipated, but DEQ says
it may take years for the
stream to recover. deq.
virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/EnvironmentalInformation.aspx

16 BlueRidgeCountry.com


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017

Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - 4
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - 18
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2017 - Cover4
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