It’s Now or Never. By Pat ByingtonLast February, I traveled to Tennessee to see Bald River Falls, one of the most visited waterfalls in the region. Visually spectacular at over 80 feet high, Bald River Falls is the gateway to the Bald River Wilderness Area.It was a rainy and chilly 33 degrees, the bridges were freezing over, and to my surprise on that late February afternoon, the Tellico River, alongside the Bald River, was teeming with kayakers. Slowly passing by people in wetsuits, carrying their kayaks, I peered at the cars and license plates on the side of the road: Pennsylvania, New York, Iowa, Texas, Colorado and Oregon. These people were serious whitewater enthusiasts and the reason they had chosen to be in rural Tennessee on a wet and bone-chilling weekend in the middle of winter was because of the Tellico River’s clean and clear rushing waters.It’s not just the kayakers who have discovered this outdoor paradise. Throughout the year, fly fishers, hunters, horseback riders, hikers, backpackers, and thousands of windshield tourists journey to Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest. Along with year round recreational opportunities, outdoor related businesses from local sandwich shops to outdoor manufacturers (one of the largest maker of kayaks in the world is Jackson Kayaks in Sparta, Tenn.) are locating near protected lands and rivers in Tennesee. The outdoor recreation industry in Tennessee alone generates $8.2 billion in consumer spending each year and creates 83,000 jobs.An entrepreneur once told me that every successful business needs a “special sauce,” that extra “something” that separates a place, product or business apart from all the others.For Tennessee’s wilderness areas, clean and clear water is the ‘special sauce’.And the reason the surrounding streams, creeks and rivers are so clean and clear is because the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 1984 made it so.It was signed by President Ronald Reagan. Three decades later, Reagan would be proud of the bill he signed into law, but I imagine he would say today the job is not finished.Back in 1984, one of Reagan’s closest friends and allies in the South, Governor Lamar Alexander, was also a champion of the original Tennessee Wilderness Act. Today, Senators Alexander and Bob Corker have introduced a new Tennessee Wilderness Act three times in the past four years.Upon passage, this bill will permanently protect the headwaters of the Upper Bald River by designating one new wilderness area, The Upper Bald River Wilderness, and by adding additional acreage to five others in the Cherokee National Forest, assuring kayakers, fishermen, hunters, local businesses and future generations will forever have clean and clear water.This month, Congress will have its last chance to pass the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2013. If you care about the outdoors, if you care about the local economy, and if you care about clean and clear water, now more than ever, your member of Congress needs to hear from you. Tell them that you support the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2013. Tell them that they should support Tennessee’s senators and finish the job.And then, read them President Reagan’s own words: “I just have to believe that with love for our natural heritage and a firm resolve to preserve it with wisdom and care, we can and will give the American land to our children, not impaired, but enhanced. And in doing this, we’ll honor the great and loving God who gave us this land in the first place.”–Pat Byington is the Executive Director of Wild South.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [colored_box color=”grey”]There is no excuse such as saying there was too much snow because private lots paid to private companies were ALL down to blacktop. No one is blaming workers who were following orders. We are saying that something was terribly wrong with how this was handled by many higher ups.People always complain about high taxes, but I’m not seeing enough complaining now. This was and is a mess. People lost work days and money due to incompetence.Erin Killeen via Facebook[/colored_box][colored_box color=”blue”]Long Islanders should see where their tax dollars are going! Long Island roads are dangerous, nothing is being done!@PeachyPink1719 via Twitter[/colored_box][colored_box color=”grey”]They never learn. [Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine] said the weather report wasn’t certain. He left on Wed. when they had already predicted a foot.@Surfcomic via Twitter[/colored_box][colored_box color=”blue”]I got an IDEA, Don’t go on vacation when a storm is forecast!!! Stop playing the blame game. Let’s face it, you F__ked up!!!! Now step down and get people in there who can get the job done. if not, get new ones!!!! As children we are taught not to lie, but our politicians seem to be the biggest liars and slanderers!!! Don’t trust any of them!!!!!Peter Devlin via Facebook[/colored_box][colored_box color=”grey”]Unconscionable. Korea is preparing for world domination and we can’t even get our streets plowed!Jackie Bowers Riker via Facebook[/colored_box][colored_box color=”blue”]Living only five minutes from the Long Island Sound was an integral part of my adolescence. My family spent countless hours on and around the Sound fishing, boating and picnicking. The Sound is also a crucial part of the economy as it supports many jobs. Unfortunately, we are not doing our best to make sure it is protected. Too many of the wetlands and small streams that feed the Sound do not have the essential Clean Water Act protections, leaving them at risk for dumping and development. By not protecting all tributaries and wetlands in the CWA we are putting other, larger bodies of water like the Sound, at risk, too. I made the decision to vote for President Obama because I believe in his commitment to protecting clean water. Now that the election is over it is time for the President to step up and restore the CWA, once and for all.Kimberly Cooper, Clean Water Intern, Environment New York via Email[/colored_box][colored_box color=”grey”]Banks give banks a bad name.Katherine Struven Navarra via Facebook[/colored_box][colored_box color=”blue”]Let me get this straight: After a couple of years of collecting a government paycheck, Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota, Sheriff Vincent DeMarco and Clerk Judith Pascale decide that the people they serve no longer have the right to restrict them to three terms in office and then—without shame—use their campaign money in an attempt to overturn the 1993 referendum enacting term limits.They claim that they are actually NYS officials and the fact that they serve a county function, receive county salaries and are elected by county residents is just a coincidence.After the Suffolk legislature hires a politically connected patsy for its defense, it mysteriously refuses to appeal the judge’s decision that overturned a 20-year-old referendum, laughably citing “budget” constraints.During all this, Albany and the Cuomo administration are nowhere to be found. The U.S. Justice Department refuses to intervene. Not one political leader voices any concern. Then, as if on cue, both major parties cross-endorse the Gang of Three, thereby making the election process a farce.Now, it seems we are no longer being governed. We are being ruled. And Suffolk County has become the banana republic it has always strived to become. Now, I get it.Peter Nichols, Melville via Email[/colored_box][colored_box color=”grey”]Thanks for all you do with #TheBestofLongIsland@PaulPannone via Twitter[/colored_box]
Residents of China’s Xianning city eager to travel after a two-month lockdown faced an unexpected hurdle only hours after the borders were opened — they needed to pass a new rapid detection test to show they didn’t have the coronavirus.Dozens rushed to the city’s largest hospital but were told the hospital was no longer doing the nucleic acid tests and were advised to try hospitals in nearby villages or towns.The test uses genetic material from throat swabs and normally takes a few hours for a result. “If we can’t get the nucleic acid test how can we leave? I can’t get on the train, I’ve bought my ticket but I can’t leave,” Shen Jianning, 51, said on Thursday morning.Shen, who wants to return to his job on a metro construction project in Shanghai, rushed to Xianning Central Hospital at around 4 a.m. on Thursday in hopes of getting a nucleic acid test, but was told by doctors there that they no longer were doing the tests and he had to find an alternative.Signs pasted on glass doors of the hospital, the city’s largest, said people should go to village or town hospitals to get the tests done.Xianning announced the test requirement on its official WeChat account on Wednesday, the day Hubei province, epicenter of China’s coronavirus outbreak and home to 60 million people, removed much of its lockdown transport measures. Topics : The lifting of the Hubei lockdown is a major milestone in the fight against the coronavirus in China. More than 80% of COVID-19 cases and 96% of deaths in mainland China have been in Hubei.The provincial capital Wuhan, where the virus first appeared late last year and which has had 54% of cases, remains under lockdown until April 8.The order to use the rapid-detection test came after news that a man who had travelled from the city last week had later tested positive when he returned to work in Guangdong province.The lifting of the lockdown has been accompanied by both relief and worry, with several people in Xianning telling Reuters they were unnerved by the case of the man who had travelled to Guangdong.”My Shanghai boss has called me a few times asking me to get out as soon as possible. He even prepared the proof of work resumption for me. He told me what processes you need to do we will help you, just think of a way to get out,” Shen said.Shen, from the eastern province of Jiangsu, had been trapped in Xianning after travelling to the city to see a house he had bought there.Stuck, inside or out Millions of people were caught in Hubei or stuck outside it as China imposed draconian measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, an approach that has proven effective, with reported new domestically transmitted cases falling to zero on most recent days, even as imported cases persist.On Thursday morning, about 30 people queued outside Xianning Central Hospital, all of them required to complete a form declaring whether they had recently come back from overseas or been in any high risk areas.Some in the queue said they were lining up for a nucleic test, but were unclear where they could get it done. A number were trying to get back to Guangdong province to work.”I saw on Douyin that a few hundred people came here yesterday, there were lots of people,” said He Ting, referring to the Chinese version of TikTok.She has been stuck in Xianning since Lunar New Year in January and was trying to get back to her job in the southwestern city of Chengdu, in Sichuan province, and was also unable to get the test at the hospital “I’m trying to figure out another way,” she said.At the Xianning Yongan Health Service Centre, a community health centre, more than a hundred people milled in and outside its gates. A long queue snaked with people clutching paper slips with numbers on them. Some said they were told that results would take a day or two.”I came here to queue but they told me I needed to register and then wait for a call on when it’s my turn,” said a man as he got on his electric scooter to leave.”I need to get back to my job in Dongguan. But now I don’t know when I can leave.”