Book ID: CBB001421805

Blue Ridge Commons: Environmental Activism and Forest History in Western North Carolina (2012)


Newfont, Kathryn (Author)

University of Georgia Press

Publication Date: 2012
Physical Details: xxi + 369 pp.; ill.; maps; bibl.; index
Language: English

In the late twentieth century, residents of the Blue Ridge mountains in western North Carolina fiercely resisted certain environmental efforts, even while launching aggressive initiatives of their own. Kathryn Newfont examines the environmental history of this region over the course of three hundred years, identifying what she calls commons environmentalism---a cultural strain of conservation in American history that has gone largely unexplored. Efforts in the 1970s to expand federal wilderness areas in the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests generated strong opposition. For many mountain residents the idea of unspoiled wilderness seemed economically unsound, historically dishonest, and elitist. Newfont shows that local people's sense of commons environmentalism required access to the forests that they viewed as semipublic places for hunting, fishing, and working. Policies that removed large tracts from use were perceived as “enclosure” and resisted. These battles often pitted industrialists against environmentalists. Newfont argues that the side that most effectively hitched its cause to local residents' commons culture usually won. A few perceptive activists realized that the same cultural ground that yielded wilderness opposition could also produce ambitious protection efforts, such as Blue Ridge residents' opposition to petroleum exploration and clearcut timber harvesting.

Reviewed By

Review Pierce, Daniel (2014) Review of "Blue Ridge Commons: Environmental Activism and Forest History in Western North Carolina". Agricultural History (pp. 453-454). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Miller, Char
Birkeland, Inger
Blavascunas, Eunice
Harvey, Mark W. T.
Keiter, Robert B
Kent, Eliza F
Ethics, Place and Environment
Environmental History
Journal of American Culture
Oxford University Press
UBC Press
University of Washington Press
Cornell University Press
CSIRO Publishing
Duke University Press
Nature and its relationship to culture; human-nature relationships
Environmental history
National parks and reserves
Forests and forestry
Conservation movement
Pinchot, Gifford
Carson, Rachel Louise
Hamilton, Alice
Muir, John
Richards, Ellen Henrietta Swallow
Roosevelt, Theodore
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
19th century
18th century
20th century, early
United States
Appalachian region (North America)
Great Britain
United States. National Park Service
World Bank
Wilderness Society
Grampians National Park

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