Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, commited citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
A Twelve Year Journey
Wow, it’s finally over. The 12 year struggle to save the Blue Mountain and the community of the Smith Gap area.
On June 21st 2001, Richard Muller first presented his sketch plan for the Alpine Rose Motorsports Club. What followed was a 12 year journey of discovery.
We discovered that there were no zoning laws to protect us in Eldred Township. That the only thing to protect our community was a subdivision and land development ordinance that did nothing to prohibit a developer from placing a highly disruptive and destructive race track in the middle of a residential community.
We discovered that the elected officials of our township were not going to help us protect our homes from noise and other pollutants.
We discovered that we needed to be active in electing officials that care for the entire community and not just those that stand to profit from irresponsible development.
We discovered that we needed to attend township and county meetings, that we needed to participate in the process.
We discovered that we all have strengths and talents that we had never before tested.
We discovered that what is morally wrong is not necessarily legally wrong.
We discovered that we live in a community where neighbors will band together and help each other when necessary.
We discovered that standing shoulder to shoulder with your neighbor gives you the strength and confidence to continue against what appear to be insurmountable odds.
We discovered that with hard work and perseverance we could change what others saw as inevitable.
We discovered that there is a large community of organizations made up of people that devote their lives to protecting the environment and helping people being threatened by development that would change the natural world forever.
The Alpine Motorsports Club was the catalyst for change. It has changed the township by bringing zoning to the area. It has changed the Blue Mountain and the Aquashicola Creek by adding 360 acres of protected Game Lands to the watershed. It brought change to the State of Pennsylvania by forcing the Department of Environmental Protection to rewrite some of it’s Codes and Enforcement Policy’s. It has changed the people of the Smith Gap area, we are stronger and smarter than we were 12 years ago.
If the Alpine Motorsports Club had been allowed to come to fruition it would have had a very negative impact on the land and people of the area. Instead the legacy of Alpine Motorsports is one of positive change and growth. The township, state and county have stronger laws protecting them. The people are stronger knowing that they can make a difference.
Why do you continue to fight?
You would think after 11 years of fighting I would have a well-thought-out response to that question. The truth is I don't. On the surface it may seem simple: this project is just one big bad idea. The reality, however is far more complicated.
We fight because this is our home. Some of us have lived here all of our lives. Many of us came here from places overburdened with noise and pollution. We came here to the Smith Gap area for the peace, quiet and beauty; for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of urban life. We are thankful for the opportunity to live a quiet life, and we will fight to keep it that way.
We fight because we are aware that what we have is special. A fragile, wonderful gift of nature. One that needs to be protected, not exploited. We acknowledge that we are custodians of this beautiful area and it is our responsibility to protect and preserve it.
We fight because we are unwilling to stand by and let all that we hold dear be sacrificed to the greed of a few individuals. We will not stand idly by and watch as gargantuan pieces of machinery tear through the mountain removing the forest, overturning the soil, displacing wildlife and contaminating our air and water in ways terrifying to contemplate.
We fight because we know if we don't something very special will be lost forever. The people of the Smith Gap area will be unable to enjoy the peace and quiet of their own back yards. the roads will be unsafe to travel. The waters will become more and more polluted and aquatic life in the Aquashicola will be changed forever.
We fight for those who embark on the journey of discovery that is the Appalachian Trail, so they will not be faced with a far different experience than can currently be found there.
We fight so that along the miles of ridgeline between Little Gap and Wind Gap, the noise of high -powered sports cars, accelerating, decelerating, shifting and braking will not replace the sounds of the song birds sweetly singing and gentle breezes whistling in the tree tops.
We fight because those elected to protect and safeguard our community have failed to do so.When our elected officials can't or won't acknowledge a danger to the community then it is up to us to do all we can to ensure that everything possible is done to preserve and maintain our standard of living.
WE FIGHT BECAUSE WE ARE WILLING TO STAND UP AND SAY
"THIS IS WRONG!"
But mostly we fight because we must. If not us, then who?