As to G. Smith’s (of Seven Devils) letter of complaint, there are several points of reality that Mr./Ms. Smith should realize.
G. Smith reveals that they were from Florida and have arrived in North Carolina “for my 8 month stay”. If that quote is correct, since Florida does not have a state income tax, one wonders just where this individual lists as their official residency. If this person claims Florida as their residence, but they admittedly spend most of the year in North Carolina, then there are many North Carolina and local residents, who pay a considerable and increasing NC state income tax, who wonder how and why this special status is legal. But this unjust situation is certainly not unusual; it is quite common, especially in Watauga/Avery and other resort areas. The fact that we locals are actually paying for special privileges for many more affluent ‘outsiders’ is a continual point of resentment.
The admitted Floridian notes that locals label their kind as “halfbacks”, which is, in truth, not a native Floridian, but of Yankee origin, who came ‘halfback’ up north to invade our mountain region. One wonders whether the Smiths have ever asked native Floridians of their true opinions regarding what the Yankee invaders did to their sunshine state.
As to the specific complaint concerning the current US Hwy 321 construction work in the Blowing Rock area and “…what has been done to all the beautiful trees and for what reason I ask?”, one answer we can give to such a question is “Take a good look in the mirror, Mr./Ms. Smith of Seven Devils.” Your reflection is a big part of the answer to your grossly hypocritical and complaining question. Another recent explanation for this new highway expansion is to accommodate ASU’s desire to compete in NCAA Division I categories. So, Mr./Ms. Smith, you are puzzled as to “…why the citizens of Watauga/Avery can not put a stop to this road destruction.” A good answer to your confusion is because many, if not most, local people have virtually been disenfranchised, politically and economically, primarily because of people like you and the arrogance of that ten-thousand-ton-and-still-ravenous gorilla in our midst, ASU. Also, powerful social and economic planners made the decision decades ago for this area to be limited to a tourism and second home economy, while seriously curtailing other more free enterprise, independent pursuits; that is, business activities that would be more stable and employ more native people than the unstable, low-paying, and seasonal tourism activities.
Mr./Ms. Smith of Seven Devils, much of the land your resort areas now occupy used to be covered with timber, your “beautiful trees“. Your Seven Devils resort homes are made of timber products, stone, brick, glass, steel, etc. These materials come from the earth, and some of these building supplies comes from this area.
To G. Smith of Seven Devils, please consider the following: A century ago, a few wealthy families made even larger fortunes by exploiting the land and forests, with no restrictions, for their own profit. Later, these same families selfishly influenced politicians to enact laws, taxes, and regulations to seriously limit further land usage by the common and more modest people. Indeed, after these few made huge fortunes with no restraints, they have financed much of the supposed conservation and environmental emphasis, not for any genuine concern for the land, but only for complete power and control within their hands.
Believe it or not.
Madeline K. Carter