Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Page In A History

One of the most enthralling parts of the Islands, something that leaves an indelible mark upon your soul, is bringing someone here for the first time or having the chance to talk on the beach with a first time visitor. They all share one thing in common, a child like awe of what they behold. And as you share what you know of this place, their wonderment grows still.

 And for them, perhaps you, and certainly me, this wonderment, more like magic, never ceases.

If I were to sit here and write a list of the amazing parts of what is the magic of these Islands, I'd be here for a month. Those of you that have visited these beaches once probably know what I mean. Those of you that have been here frequently have no questions; those that have never been here, should endeavour to do so.

The experience that comes with being out on the sand has left virtually every visitor I know in awe at one point or another. Something seemingly shared by all regardless of how many trips out to the beaches one makes. For each of us, the experience is just as unique as the moments that make up the time we spend. Those moments have also fostered a common love among us, for a very special place. In turn, we became a community that has for years worked to care for these beaches, and still does. This common bond has formed many a friendship over the years, and has brought many people together in the fight for free and open access as well.

I'm rather certain that the number of hours that people have donated to the fight for access over the years is incalculable. Even this day, people from across this land will share our story, work for free and open access, and will do it again tomorrow as well.

Some say nothing is being done to combat the evil agenda set before us. I beg to differ. And here's a classic example.

This afternoon I took a dive to Frisco and ended up stopping in at Indian Town Gallery where I spoke to Anne Bowers, owner of same, and Secretary of the Outer Banks Preservation Association. I was curious as to whether she had been one of the businesses interviewed for the RTI study about economic impact to the Islands. (This was recently featured in Irene Nolan's' blog at http://www.islandfreepress.org/  )

What a shock I was in for.

It's one hell of an experience to look a business owner in the eye an have them tell you how far their sales have fallen just in the spring seasons alone because of what has transpired here in the last three years. And in spite of that she makes time to put together the OBPA prize calendar and has donated near a hundred hours of her employees time for access, and counting. Her husband Don, has been working hard at this too, for years.

And that's just one example of many. One example cut from a group of people who have for in some cases, decades, fought the fight for access with their own time, money, and tears.

And that my friends, is a National Park Service nightmare.

But we have a nightmare too. And it's not just the NPS plan, it's the agenda and method that haunt our dreams at night. Maybe thought it's not the agenda we need be concerned with, but the method. After all, the NPS agenda apparent, will require them to violate even more federal law than they have already.

But what if there was nobody but a few to complain about it? What if instead of thousands of voices that in unison decry the violation of this amazing place by NPS, there were but a few?

That would certainly satisfy NPS. They propose to be the BORG like on Star Trek, "you will be assimilated, resistance is futile!"

And as eloquently pointed out by a friend last week, the "method" is all about two things when it comes to NPS dealing with those that know about and are or want to be involved in this issue. And those two things are burn-out and conquer. In short, this is essentially siege warfare. Wear us down, starve our ability to fight, and then divide us amongst ourselves.

Three, with at least a portion of another year of the decree of forced consent has done that. The NPS lackadaisical attitude towards proper procedure and the law has helped that as well.Throw in Derb, Boyle,  Jason (I still wonder if he knows where the Ocean is), and a whole host of other notorious characters to include their endless tripe..together, mixed in perhaps a very large bowl or other vessel; resulting in the makings of one monumental cocktail, which surely tastes as bad as it smells.

And I for one refuse to drink of this putrid concoction and I ask you to turn it aside as well because this cause is well worth fighting for. But this is not like going to a movie per se. When you go to see a film, you plop down your entry fee, get something to eat or drink, and then kick back and watch the show. Other than getting there on time, all of the rest of the work is done, leaving you time to just relax and enjoy which was the whole idea to begin with.

I think the last time I went to a film was when I lived out west for a couple of years. I took my girlfriend and her three kids out for a night at the movie and quickly ran up a tab of near a hundred dollars after tickets, drinks, popcorn and such. That's a chunk of change to walk around on sticky floors and sit for two hours and change to see something you may not like. And to make it more interesting, it's a one shot deal. If you want to see it again, there goes another hundred clams. Or you can wait to see it in another format which though perhaps less expensive and more convenient, is not the same thing as seeing it on the big screen. And that's not unlike the difference between standing on our beaches as opposed looking a some old photos of the sand and sea.

The issue of access is not like going to the movie. We don't get to spend our ten bucks and then kick back to watch the show with our RC cola and Moonpies!

We don't get to do that because the script is being written right in front of our eyes and all of us are the players. And all of us that step upon the stage become authors because we have the chance to influence the outcome of our story. But to do that, you have to leave the audience. You have to get involved.

We're living in a moment of historical significance where changes proposed by NPS will dramatically alter the lives of thousands upon thousands of Americans from all over this nation. Those alterations will destroy an economy, a way of life, and a culture that extends beyond the creation of the Seashore.

So the stage is here and for each of us the question looms as to whether we would rather be standing in the sand, or looking at old pictures, faded memories? Will you climb upon the stage and write this play or not?

I say come on up and join the fray.

There's some work to it but keep in mind, it's gonna make the difference between having a beach or just a bunch of old photos. Personally, I want both.

There are a lot of dedicated people working hard to fight this fight but we need everyone's help. The more people we have on the stage, the better the story becomes. If you need inspiration, go back when I wrote about Anne and Don Bowers. If you know someone that needs inspired, tell them the story and remind them that we need their help. After all, the more of us that take the stage, the more loud our unified voice becomes!

We can do this if we do it together.

Tight Lines,


(And by the by, Anne was never asked by RTI about any economic impact to their business.)

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