Friday, February 23, 2007

"Taking Land out of Production"

Seems like every time somebody tries to do something good for the State of Tennessee, somebody else tries to stop them.

In this case Governor Phil Bredesen has stepped up to the plate and made the visionary and prudent decision to commit money to our future. No sooner is the decision made to protect some of the most beautiful and sensitive land in our state than here comes to political wing of the Developer's Union to oppose it.

Actually, this is opposed mostly by the short sighted developers who aren't satisfied with the tens of thousands, no, hundreds of thousands, of acres they already have access to. They apparently are just opposed to the rest of us having parks, preserves, and recreational land because...well, actually just "because"!

There are actually far sighted developers that see this as a very good thing for the state as a whole and also for the local communities adjacent to these proposed protected areas. Some of the rural communities that are booming in Tennessee are the gateway towns: Cleveland near the Ocoee river, Oneida near the Big South Fork, and Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Maryville and Townsend near the Smokies.

But If the State of Tennessee protects the land, they say, where are we going to build more of those gated communities that are springing up all over our Counties? You know, the ones that don't have many local people moving into them.

NASHVILLE - Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said Thursday that Gov. Phil Bredesen may be
going too far in proposing an $82 million state bond issue to preserve 124,000
acres of forestlands on the Cumberland Plateau.

Ramsey said at a news conference that he is troubled both by "taking that much land out of production"

"Taking land out of production"

What Lt. Governor Ramsey is really saying is "Keeping my developer buddies from getting our hands on the most sensitive, beautiful, and yes, productive, land in our whole danged state!"
What he means by "out of production" is "A developer can't rape it".

Left in the hands of certain developers, the future of Tenessee is bleak. Frankly, folks, if we don't protect this land we will all lose. Tennessee's land heritage will go the way of all those beautiful farms and forests outside of Atlanta.

Governor Bredesen actually proposes, as part of his goal, to fix one of the biggest transgressions in Tennessee history, known as the Martha Sundquist State Forest. All the state got in that deal was the dirt under Martha's forest...The forest itself still belonged to the timber interests. Now, with the help of the Nature Conservancy and Lyme Timber Company (proving that a timber company actually can have long range vision) who are coming up with $62 million dollars in addition to the state money, Phil Bredesen proposes to buy the trees, too, so that we will get to keep the "product" of our own land.

Developing land is a one way street. There are good developers who live in the communities they work in and have a long range vision that serves everyone's future. Their projects have greenspaces, trails, common areas, and meaningful conservation easements. They should be encouraged and supported. The other guys should be hammered.

The Governor is trying to do the right thing for Tennessee's future generations. But it appears that there is an orchistrated public relations campaign aready trying to stop the good work he is doing for our State. You can tell that when Politicians like Ramsey and Wilder "Have a Problem" with Bredesen calling this a "One time deal"...Well it is, folks.

Unless we act together now, we will lose our chance to save Tennessee's most precious land for our children and grandchildren. Let's not be fooled by misleading rants from people who only see the short term money they can make at the expense of our children's heritage.

The Republican Governor of Florida has proposed $800 million, for the same kind of effort in his state, ten times the amount of money we are asking for.

Tennessee is at least a tenth as good as Florida, isn't it?


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