Sunday, August 2, 2015

Fight for Habitat Here at Home

Many of us have already expressed our rage over the shooting of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.  But how many of us have taken steps to protect habitat closer to home?

I got an e-mail about the proposed route of a electric transmission line right through the grounds of Lutheridge, a Lutheran camp in Arden, North Carolina.  You might shrug and say, "So what?"  But this camp is one of the last patches on underdeveloped land in the area just south of Asheville.  If the powerline goes through the camp, we will see great loss of habitat.

I am selfishly more concerned with its impact on the camp, which gives retreat opportunities to thousands of campers throughout each year.  We have so few places of refuge in this overdeveloped eastern seaboard--why choose this one for the powerline route?

You might shrug and say, "Well, what can be done?" 

Duke Energy is taking comments from the public until the end of the month.  Your comment could include any of the following:

  1. Lutheridge is a Christian Retreat Center and designated as a Caring for Creation Retreat Center by the North Carolina Synod. 15,000 guests come to Lutheridge each year to experience a time and place apart.
  2. Lutheridge consists of 172 acres that features natural and naturalized areas, and is the largest tract of such land in Arden, which is a crucial part of its outdoor activities and programs on a year-round basis. The loss of trees from the 150’ easement area would severely reduce the forest, which is an “oasis” in the midst of area development and a loss of natural habitat for bears, wild turkeys and other animals.
  3. Lutheridge serves 2,000 children every summer, 4,000 children year-round as part of 15,000 annual guests. The electric transmission line would negatively impact the visual and scenic beauty, ecological integrity of ecosystems and animal and plant species, and would endanger the outdoor environment and religious program areas, which depend on protected green open space.
  4. The proposed route of the electric transmission line would run very close to Whisnant Chapel where congregations worship six months each year and adjacent to the outdoor chapel, which is the site where dozens of families have scattered cremains of loved ones over the years.
  5. The proposed route would pass over the only large playfield at Lutheridge where thousands of children and youth play.
  6. The proposed route would pass over the new swimming pool and play area that was just completed May 2015 at a cost of $500,000.
  7. Lutheridge provides Christian summer camp and year round programs for youth and adults of all denominations, including programs for mentally challenged, low income and other special needs youth. Environmental education is also offered to area schools.
It's easy to register and comment.  Here's how:

Go to this link:  to

  1. Scroll down and click on Interactive Map
  2. Click on “Enter”
  3. Click on “Submit a Comment”
  4. Register – you will need to give your name and create a username and password
  5. Login – using your newly created username and password
  6. Select a Location for Comment – 2511 Hendersonville Road, Arden, NC28704. Complete the questionnaire and type your comment in the text box provided - then submit.
Here are some possible comments; feel free to mix and match as you wish:
As one of the last patches of underdeveloped land in the Arden area, we should be preserving land, rather than running power lines across it.  I would hate to see the destruction of trees and wildlife habitat that would result from such a project.  I am hoping that a different location can be found for this power line.
In any given year, this Lutheran camp serves over 15,000 people of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, and abilities.  In addition, this camp serves as an educational resource both in North Carolina and across several states. The disruptions resulting from this project would limit Lutheridge's ability to serve in this capacity, and other institutions are not likely to fill in the gap.  I urge you to choose a different route.
The power line installation would result in the destruction of valuable land:  land that is used as wildlife habitat, land that is used as educational resource, and land that is used as fields where campers play.  I urge you to choose a different route.
It's easy to go on Facebook and announce our outrage over Cecil the lion or global warning or habitat destruction.  Today, let's do something that takes only a few more steps and fight to protect a patch of undeveloped land in western North Carolina.  Let's save some trees.  Let's save some habitat.  Let's preserve a place of peace.

No comments: