Thursday, February 1, 2007

SANDHILL CRANES

I stood and looked around in all directions as the sound became louder and louder. It sounded as if a wind with force was blowing in from the East. I was at Hiwassee, the sanctuary for the Sandhill and Whooping Cranes. This is a stopping off place where the Cranes rest up and feed on the bounty supplied by the grains that are grown by TWRA on this preserve. It is a place of wonder. Its beautiful wet lands are gorgeous enough, but add the magnificent Sandhill Crane and one would need a Leonardo DeVinci to paint a more beautiful picture. And he would have a challenge to do so. The sound arrives before the specks in the sky. The specs become larger and larger and there are many of them. Soon the sound is breath taking and it eminates from the huge slow flapping of the Cranes wings as they fly overhead after leaving their feeding fields. They are heading directly to the wet lands. They land gracefully and silently. They are very large and one would expect great disturbances at their landing. But not so. Each one touches down with grace. If one looks carefully he can see two or three prominently white birds . These are Whooping Crains. These birds are still on the endangered species list. They are standing and wading with the Sandhills. There is not enough space here to be technical. But I do want to bring a situation to everyone's attention. Please go to the address I have attached here and read the latest.http://tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070120/NEWS0201/701200351/1009/NEWS

I won't repeat here what the site above covers. It seems that there is nothing sacred anymore. This will be the last winter the Sandhill Cranes will stop over. Hiwassee will be where they used to stop.. Hiwassee will be the pretty place that is used by the residents who will soon live in the new 600 acre construction developement project that is going in adjacent to the present Crane Refuge. I guess there just isn't any other property left to develop anywhere else. The rich developers just have to do their digging next to the refuge. I'm going to make a statement here. Many might not like it. But here goes:

I have seen beautiful areas of Pennsylvania turned into parking lots and developement projects in my lifetime. It sickened not only me but all who appreciate the out doors and things natural. But I have never, ever in my lifetime; never ever------ have I seen so much beautiful natural areas destroyed by developers as I have seen in my brief three years here in Tennessee. It is amazing to see the landscape change so rapidly. Its the farmers son who inherets the farm who becomes a land developer the day after dad passes away. Sell, sell, sell. Its the rich developers from Florida who want to build Rarity this and Rarity that and the land keeps changing. The most beautiful and the choicest pieces of properties are always first to go. Let me ask you something. What makes Tennessee so desirable? Its her beauty. Its her wilderness places. Her mountains, streams and forests. All those places are still rich in wildlife and natural things. What would happen if Tennessee lost all her beauty. What would it look like if every mountain top had someone's house on top of it? What would a lake look like if homes lined the bank on both sides? Been on Ft Loudon Lake lately? Tenneseee isn't exactly a leader in economics nor does it have the best schools. As a matter of fact, the young people who have any intelligence and education usually leave the state for better jobs. Many become developers who return to develop and make a killing and then return to Florida with their hefty bank rolls. Tennessee is forty years behind the rest of the industrialied nation when it comes to simple things like applying for a title to a car, or health care. So I guess the one thing Tennessee has to sell is beautiful land. How long will it last? How long will the Sandhill Cranes last without Hiwassee? Ever see the sky blackened by the passing of passenger pigions as they migrate. You say no? Well, you never will. Do you care.? The whispers are that a hunting season is in the thought process for the Sandhills. Seems they may mess up too much property and expensive cars as they pass overhead to their new wintering area, wherever that is................................Shooting Sandhill Cranes would be like shooting floating swans in a farm pond. If you have any appreciation for the natural things that are left to us; let your voice be heard. Shout loudly and do it quickly. Development money speaks with thunder.