Why Is Senator Burr Supporting National Park Land Grab Eliminating Hunting Access
North Carolina – -(AmmoLand.com)- As we were alerted by members in the Blowing Rock area months ago, the Town of Blowing Rock plans to turn over town-owned land that local hunters have hunted on for generations to the National Park Service.
The issue started nearly a decade ago when the North Carolina Land Trust purchased a 192 acre tract of land from a local hunting club outside the city limits of Blowing Rock. Local hunters, believing they were protecting a treasured hunting area, generously donated to the Land Trust for purchase of the tract. As testament to the past use of hunting on the land, the Land Trust wrote language into their deed which designated hunting as an allowable activity on the land for perpetuity.
A few years later however, the Town of Blowing Rock, unbeknownst to the general public, purchased the 192 acre tract from the land trust for potential trade to the National Park Service. In late 2005 the purchase revealed itself to sportsmen when police tried to close the area, including the NC Gamelands portion, to hunting.
Hunters and GRNC members, concerned with suddenly being told they were not allowed to hunt public lands, began questioning recalcitrant town officials. It was then that the questionable land trade was uncovered. Further investigation revealed that an influential town councilwoman’s expensive home overlooks the land, as well as the fact this very same councilwoman is an outspoken anti-hunting, anti-logging activist. Some grassroots members are even beginning to question the Town of Blowing Rock’s role in the Land Trust’s original purchase of the tract. Letters written to Mayor J.B. Lawrence regarding these and other questions have not been answered. The town maintains the trade is necessary to gain full control of the town reservoir located on Park lands between Boone and Blowing Rock. This does not seem plausible given the fact Blowing Rock already has water interconnection permits with Boone as well as an unused intake permit at the! confluence of Payne Branch and Middle Fork.
As a new twist, Mayor Lawrence recently declared the 190 acres as closed to hunting via a vague town code prohibiting loaded guns on town property (i.e. town hall). Coinciding with the Mayor’s announcement, National Park Service spokeswomen Shelia Dixon indicated that if NPS acquires the land, all hunting, trapping, and shooting will be prohibited as per NPS policy. This deal will cut in half the last public lands that Blowing Rock hunters, shooters and trappers can easily access. Hunters attempted to voice concerns with Mayor Lawrence during a March 10, 2009 town meeting, however the Mayor decided to convene an illegal closed meeting to discuss the issue. No recordings or minutes exist of this meeting.
Now it seems that Senator Richard Burr and Congresswoman Virginia Foxx are on board with this deal as well. Burr’s and Foxx’s offices purport that their support stems from the dubious water issue. Locals are skeptical about this and again point to the councilwoman’s home which overlooks this land. Several times GRNC members have requested from both Burr and Foxx to have a voice in the questionable land deal, but that has not happened.
What Sen. Burr has not addressed is if this is part of a larger bill. If so, he can introduce a floor amendment to remove the land grab and protect the rights of hunters in this area. Remember, this could be your county where this happens next.
IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED
* Call Senator Burr and ask him to remove the Blowing Rock land grab: (202) 224-3154
Grass Roots North Carolina/Forum for Firearms Education is a non-profit, all volunteer organization devoted to educating the public about trends which abridge the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and engaging in grass roots activism to preserve those freedoms. Formed in 1994 to conduct a highly successful rally for the Second Amendment, GRNC has gone on to conduct projects like “Remember in November: A Gun Owner’s Guide to Voting,” bringing concealed carry to North Carolina.