Are you a lover of cool mountain streams and oak shaded drives? Environmentalist are concerned that Highway 11 will become over-developed when the economy improves. Their focus is a Star called the Blue Wall Centre and it’s view corridor from Blythe Shoals to Caesars Head. It’s good they are concerned. However, the environmentalist have become the developers.
We discovered - $35.5 million dollars and counting grant money, USDA, SCDOT, Conservation Bank, 2% hospitality tax, City & County Councils (YOUR tax money). Where? On a one mile section of Hwy 11 in northern Greenville County. Money is headed for 32 rock walls across the South Saluda River for ¾ mile long bathtub warm trout habitat and destination so international tourists can hook them. Your tax money spent digging rocks into the South Saluda River while laying off teachers, letting pot holes eat car axles & slashing funds for handicapped children. The budget is tight or so they say, yet millions in taxes are spent this way... What do we choose to spend our diminished funds on? Teachers? No. Better roads? No. Kids? Nope. Making trout happy? Ahhh, that’s the ticket.Uncovered - parallel projects, one for trout, one for canoeing. An additional $93,000 is requested for a canoe take out for Naturaland Trust by Save Our Saluda. It’s beginning to look like a theme park is envisioned with several permits hiding all the plans. We wonder if there will be a major conflict of fishermen and paddlers in the narrowed down river. Visit quickly! Enjoy the rushing ankle deep whitewater of the South Saluda River or more correctly, the South Saluda Creek. We learned new words the other day “Lines in, Lines in” as kayakers plowed through our little fishing hole.
Will the river ever recover from their improvements? The South Saluda is pristine. It has no erosion. It’s river banks shaded by century-old oaks so big it takes 3 people to circle their arms around them. We only asked for drawings and calculations. The judge says the environmentalists are not required to do environmental or endangered species studies. Drawings and calculations are not required. It’s okay that they are digging into the river bank and trenching the river bottom. It’s okay that there are no plans to prevent sediment. No plans to replant trees. How can they sidestep the same rules that apply to the rest of us? Why is it that they are not crying “Endangered Turtles need your support!”
By midsummer, the bulldozers should be digging.
There is still time to stop this waste of precious tax dollars. There is still time to recognize the folly of this tourist trap paid for with your money. This is the time to tell Upstate Forever and Naturaland Trust to preserve our natural resources. This is the time to raise your voices in protest and join in with the 102 members of Saluda River Roots. We are trying to preserve the natural flow of the South Saluda River.
Please visit www.SaludaRiverRoots.com.