My apologies to my regular readers for the long time between posts. I’ve had some technical difficulties, some snow days due to our two recent snow storms, and a few miscellaneous problems that have conspired to keep me out of the office. I’ve missed three of my four office duty days this month, and I’m grateful to my colleagues for covering for me. While I don’t technically live in My Mountain (I was there before it was), I have to go out over the top, and it is a challenge when we get measurable snow.
The last snow storm probably left us with seven inches of snow at our place over three successive days. There was some melt later in each day, so there never was more than a few inches on the ground at any given time. But that just means that the refreeze at night makes the roads treacherous. I would have to say that this latest snow was the most beautiful we’ve had for some time. The first day’s snow was the large, wet flakes that we seem to get only rarely, while the last day’s snow left all of the trees completely covered with snow in all directions. The power went out for about three hours early one morning, and that’s a real measure of the progress we’ve made here. A few short years ago, it probably would have been three days.
We missed the Fire & Ice Festival, but I heard that despite the low temperature and heavy wind chill, that the chili was sold out again in a few hours. I really wanted to hear the Buckner Brothers Band, but a small emergency at home kept us from going.
The Wilderness Act turns 50 this year. This is the act that established the local wilderness areas like the Cohutta and Rich Mountain Wilderness. It’s a good time to remember former U.S. Representative Ed Jenkins, was was instrumental in getting the ten Wilderness Areas in Georgia established. I believe Ed still lives in Blairsville, close to the Technical College. According to the Sierra Club, it is by no means a done deal that they will continue to exist. In their recent “Georgia Sierran,” their Georgia newsletter, they detail a number of threats to the integrity of our wilderness areas, including a House of Representatives that has “twice voted to essentially repeal the Wilderness Act.” I hope they are just being alarmist, but I wouldn’t bet the ranch. I know there’s still a lot of local resentment about the Act, from folks who used to enjoy using the roads that are now closed. I’ve heard comments at public meetings like, “It’s beautiful. You just can’t go there.” I hope that wilderness will continue to be valued and protected, if for no other reason than that our local tourism industry depends in large part on the perception that our area is still unspoiled and wild. Some people seem to have a hard time processing this fact, but tourists don’t come here to see highways. After all, they have a lot of those at home.