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That Burns My Biscuits!

By E.J. Smith
Greetings Friends,
I am sharing with you today the clean-up event I attended on Saturday, Sept. 26, with Keep Carter County Beautiful and the group of volunteers who, I suspect, show up every time. The target place was Buffalo Mountain in the Cherokee National Forest. What beautiful country, yet the group cleaned up over 1,000 tires from three ravines. I witnessed young and not so young people climb and slide down slick hills into unknown, possible snaky places and pull out tires with a pulley and rope. Some tossed them up the hill to be caught and placed into the truck beds. Then others hoisted them onto the trucks to haul to the dumpster provided by Carter County. Everyone was muddy and wet, but all I saw was happy faces, working on making their beloved mountain clean again. Thank you to Mr. Ed Jordan and his fellow organizers for hosting these events, and to the volunteers who are so willing to help every time.
Too bad not everyone loves and respects our lovely mountains and all that they have to offer: Wildflowers, creeks, rivers, waterfalls, trails, camping, rock formations and as always, stunning views.  
We talked last time about what to do to help alleviate littering in our neighborhood, so won’t go into that again. So, what do we do about dumping tires, appliances, furniture and anything else that is too large for trash pickup? Come on, people  It only costs a dollar or two to take your big trash to a site that accepts it. Check with your county waste department to find out where. And remember that it cost a lot less than paying a fine for illegal dumping. And get fined you will, when someone sees you and reports you or a secret weapon against trashing nature gets you.   
   Why 1,000 tires? It is not only private citizens who dump tires and such, but tire companies as well. Shame on you! There are ways to catch you and it is going to be easier soon with the new ways that will be used to stop your large littering of our mountains. So watch out illegal dumpers.
   What effect does dumping large stuff in the woods have on the environment? Well, harmful to animals is one! Also, it obliterates beneficial and beautiful plants. It pollutes streams and forests. It destroys the very reason people want to visit the mountains of Northeast Tennessee. There is no good reason to do this, folks! We want to keep these places beautiful for our grandchildren to enjoy as much as we have. We want to share the beauty, history and charm of our area with others. How can we do this when people who live here are working hard to destroy the very thing we have to share, our land. I implore you, Carter County citizens, to wage war on litterbugs and those who illegally dump their unused junk on federal and state lands.
   Maybe people don’t get how important it is to keep the environment that God has given us to care for. We are to be good stewards of ALL He gives us. Therefore, we must be a positive influence on others as we work to keep the world He made for us as beautiful as it is meant to be.  
   Now, I know how proud and independent some of us Appalachian Americans are. We do not want to be told what to do, especially from “outsiders.” We need to understand that people move their families here or those who retire here have searched for suitable places to live and chose this one for its beauty and its good people. We need to put our old ways aside and focus on keeping Carter County beautiful, even if it means taking advice from “outsiders.” They won’t be outsiders for long once we all start working together for this common cause. And working together is what it is going to take for us to remedy the problem of trash marring our wonderful mountains and valleys. ALL of us. Get to it!
NOTE: Costs for litter cleanup and prevention in Tennessee are more than 18 million dollars. Read the memo from the State Department of Transportation regarding more about costs, check burnsmybiscuit@gmail.com.
You are in my prayers, 
E.J.