New state forest coming to life in far southwest VirginiaAmid all the hoopla and din, consider this:
By Rex Bowman, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer
Far Southwest Virginia boasts some of the state's most rugged and beautiful woodlands, but up until this week it has never had a patch of forest specifically protected by the state.
That's set to change tomorrow when Virginia forestry officials, along with legislators and sundry other dignitaries, plan to gather to declare more than 4,800 acres of mountainous Washington and Russell counties the Channels State Forest.
The land, known locally as Brumley Mountain, was purchased from The Nature Conservancy for nearly $3.8 million. It contains the 400 million-year-old feature known as the Great Channels, a narrow sandstone passageway through which hikers walk. (link)
There is not one politician in Southwest Virginia - or on Planet Earth for that matter - who can articulate an argument that this new state forest is going to bring something, anything, economically or socially, to the area that all our other local, state, and national parks can't bring. Parks that have, to date, brought us nothing.
But articulation of a coherent message isn't what this is all about. Nor is the undertaking intended to really provide for the general welfare of our people.
Our overpaid and clueless pols are getting together tomorrow morning to slap each other on the back and celebrate the purchase - at great expense - $3,800,000 - using money that could have gone toward economic development - that could have gone toward reducing the tax burden experienced by our ever-dwindling cadre of small business owners - that could have gone toward stemming the outflow of employers to China - that could have gone toward stopping the depopulation of Southwest Virginia (ironically, the Brumley Mountain area being one of the hardest hit with an exodus of citizens the likes of which hasn't been seen since the days of Pharaoh) ...
... of another pile of rocks.
I'll not be at the party. Unlike those who'll be in attendance, I have important things to do tomorrow.