Standing Up For A Mountain
Take a guess where this photo was taken. Somewhere above the treeline in the Rockies? Scotland? Try the southern Appalachians near the North Carolina/Tennessee border. It’s an extraordinary region of exquisite beauty and biodiversity featuring a string of grassy bald summits called the Roan Highlands. The region is well-known and loved by Appalachian Trail hikers who have seen it. Jay Leutze lives near here on Yellow Mountain in North Carolina.
In 1999, Jay got a telephone call from a 14 year old girl names Ashley who informed him the Mining Act was being violated behind her house in Dogtown. Ashley put her aunt, Ollie Ve Cox, on the phone who put it this way. ” We need help. We’re killed…Paul’s killing us. He’s going to pull that whole mountain down.” They called Jay because they heard he was a lawyer He wasn’t and isn’t but he did go to law school. Well, practicing attorney or not, it turns out they called the right guy. Thus began the journey of a very unlikely band of citizens, advocates, (and even a couple of actual lawyers) to stop a surface mine from destroying a mountain, making life miserable for those living near it, and forever marring one of the most beautiful sections along the Appalachian Trail.
Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail is Jay Leutze’s passionate, humorous and marvelously written account of his long struggle to preserve a piece of one of the most spectacular natural places in the eastern United States. It is a story of people with authority doing the wrong thing right and left. It is a story of people of diverse backgrounds coming together to fight for justice and beauty. There is suspense and court-room drama as well as the elegant prose one associates with the very best nature writing.
If you have an interest in the A. T. or wilderness, if you are concerned with land conservation, if you have been involved in a battle over land use, this is a book you will fall in love with.
Jay Leutze will be here at the Northshire on Friday, August 3 to talk about his spectacular book, Stand Up That Mountain. I cannot urge you strongly enough to attend. It promises to be one of our most compelling events of the summer.
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