Conservationist discusses illegal mining
Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 22:10
Stretching from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail is one of the most popular among hikers, and author and conservationists Jay Leutze is fighting to conserve the trail’s natural beauty.
Leutze, who lives in North Carolina, discussed illegal mining operations on the trail and read excerpts from his book, “Stand Up that Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail,” at ETSU on Oct. 8 in Brown Hall Auditoirum.
The book is about a family that fought a five-year legal battle to prevent a gravel crushing operation in Avery County, N.C.
“I am passionate about conservation because I drink water, breathe air and eat fish,” Leutze said. “I can’t understand why everyone is not passionate about preserving places to swim, fish, and delight in the wonders of the natural world.”
Leutze, who was trained as an attorney and is a Trustee for Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, said,
“We have lost so many places I loved as a child. Gates leading to vocational developments have shut people out of places they once roamed. Air pollution has damaged our high-elevation forests and the animals that live in them.”
Leutze is optimistic about the future of the Appalachian Trail, and he believes that individuals can make a difference. He encourages people to volunteer with conservancy programs.
“Get out in the field and volunteer with land conservative non-profits,” he said. “You will find inspiration from meeting other people doing this work. Hopefully, you will get to spend a lot of time outside.”
Leutze’s visit was sponsored by ECO (ETSU’s environmental student group) and the Environmental Studies minor, and funded by the SGA BUC Fund, with support from ETSU’s Department of Literature and Language.
For more information about land trusts and conservation efforts, visit the Land Trust Alliance at www.landtrustalliance.org.