To the Editor:
I live at the head of Tilley Creek, where my family has been since the early 1800s, so I have a keen interest in what happens up here. I have worked very hard since returning to my home place 10 years ago to preserve what remains unspoiled of this mountain.
To that end, we were able to purchase and put under conservation 65 acres of my mother’s homestead, which is adjoined by U.S. Forest Service land, and is just across the ridge from the Moss Knob Shooting Range. I don’t shoot guns, but have grown sons and teen-aged grandsons who enjoy shooting and sometimes go to Moss Knob range when they visit us from time to time, and we take the noise in stride, knowing that men and boys especially seem to need to practice this age-old tradition.
I also worked very hard several years ago to block the proposed installation of a large private shooting club on the old Pressley farm, just down the road on Tilley Creek. That was a success as a then more progressive county government adopted a moratorium on permitting shooting ranges and an organic farmer bought the Pressley farm and a great granddaughter and her husband and children now live there and plan to restore the old Pressley home. So, community battles do sometimes succeed.
What I do object to is despoiling more land and native plants and habitat to make a larger road around the mountain and into the shooting range as proposed in a column from the Forest Service this week in The Sylva Herald. If you need to go in and add gravel and cut the sides of the road (which are so overgrown up Tilley Creek it’s like going through a tunne), then do so, but please, leave the roadbed as it is! Don’t spend our tax dollars tearing up more steep mountain ridgelines. In doing so, you would be spending our hard-earned tax dollars to defeat what a few of us have worked ourselves threadbare to save. Please re-consider your plans.
Vera Holland Guise