Me, I’m not an ecoterrorist, or a tree hugging hippie. I’m about as right wing as they come. Heck, I’ve even written blog
posts rants about the timber industry and the “think before you print” email footers. I think that wood, in our society, is a good thing and I think that if you’re going to use it you should be growing it for use. Farming it. Central Louisiana where I’m from is chock full of “Tree Farms”. Paper mills and log mills make up a huge part of the local economy. I’m ok with that.
What I’m against, as a rule, is fraud. Or, at least, the appearance of fraud. What I am, is a frustrated neighbor. You see, when we first moved here we were excited that our home bordered on a Land Conservancy administered by the Catawba Lands Conservancy. How awesome is that? “A land trust dedicated to saving land and connecting live to nature in North Carolina’s Southern Piedmont,” according to the Facebook page, and right in my own back yard.
Over the last few years they’ve put up posted signs on the land adjacent to us which didn’t really bother me much. I mean, who knows what kind of delicate flora they’re working to preserve over beyond the pine trees.
I was a little frustrated when I discovered that the posted signs were there to protect land that they had leased to hunters who were there to shoot the deer that I was feeding in my front yard. I’m a hunter and ethical hunting doesn’t bother me. If the Catawba Lands Conservancy needs to manage deer populations with hunting I can support that. I don’t think they need it based on the populations on my land but, whatever. I do wish they weren’t sitting in a tree stand 200 yards from my house but I suppose it must be nice to be able to watch cartoons through my office window on Saturday mornings.
This week, though, they’ve started clear cutting the land that they’re sworn to protect. I’m sure that they have legal protection for this. I’m sure that they can even justify it as some sort of strange “management practice.” Maybe the “pre-grant” land owners have some rights to the land that allows this to happen or, maybe, the Lands Conservancy sacrificed this property for gain. I honestly don’t know.
Are they “breaking the law”? I don’t know. Probably not.
Are they being disingenuous in advertising themselves as a long term trust that “saves land”. I don’t know. Probably.
If I were thinking of donating my land (or money) to them for management would I ask them a lot of questions? Yes. I might even do a quick Google search and hope to find a page like this one. Hopefully that’s why you’re here.
Would some of those questions involve the words “logging” and “clearcut”? Yup.
I’d probably also ask them to define, “Nature Preserve” and “permanently protected” for me. In detail…
This used to be a solid wall of trees. Now you can clearly see the clearcut behind it. Sad.
I think they’re required by law (I don’t know) to leave this thin swath of trees along the roadway. It doesn’t do much to cover up the desolation behind it though.