Why Buy the Appalachian Trail?We operate a farm just about...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 09, 1992

Why Buy the Appalachian Trail?

We operate a farm just about four miles north of Wolfsville on Pleasant Valley Road in northern Frederick County. Our family has farmed in this area since 1927.

We are currently being forced to deal with the state Department of Natural Resources on the proposal to move the existing Appalachian Trail about one mile east of its present location to our farm.

If the state succeeds it will take 38 acres of prime farmland and 24 acres of woodland. We currently farm 141 acres. However, we only own 63 acres and rent the remaining 78 acres. The loss of the proposed 38 acres will seriously threaten our farming business.

This latest route will require the acquisition of about 170 acres of land.

If farms continue to disappear, where will your food come from? Farms are going under all across the country because times are hard. But the farmer who wants to stay in business should be allowed to and not have to worry about the state or federal government taking it all away.

With the state budget at a deficit of $500 million, why would the state want to buy more land than necessary? Keep the trail where it has been since the early 1920s.

In order to protect the trail as instructed by the 1976 mandate by the Congress, the state claims it is necessary to own the land the trail is on. So, why not buy that land?

Don't misunderstand us, we do not mean the state should be allowed to buy the homes of the people living along the trail. Currently, the trail is a 12-foot easement across these private properties, and this is all the state should be allowed to buy.

After all, how wide a space do you need to walk a trail?

The DNR says the existing crossing on Route 77 is dangerous -- well, no one around this area has ever heard of anyone ever being hurt.

This is absolutely ridiculous. What is more important to our state government -- our jobs, funding education or purchasing land for recreation? It appears it's purchasing land for recreation. A lot of state workers recently lost jobs, and education is being cut, but we must move the trail.

Where is Gov. William Donald Schaefer's mind? What can the DNR be thinking? We can't even take care of the parks we have!

Volunteers clean Gambrill, the people who live at Gathland had to get angry before the state would clean it up, and now it's in the process of being closed. The Washington Monument in Boonsboro is closed.

Come on people -- wake up. The state doesn't need more land -- it needs to balance the budget. If our state officials can't get their priorities in order, then it's up to us as voters to do it for them. We not only need to clean house at the federal level, we need to do it in Annapolis, too.

More than the Appalachian Trail is involved here -- the state wants all this additional acreage. Maybe you better ask yourself why, and where will it all stop? With us? Or maybe you're next?

Joe Willard

Audrey Willard

Smithsburg

City Homes

The media have a dangerous habit of taking comments out of context and distorting the message meant to be conveyed. I certainly hope this was the case with Melody Simmons' Perspective article Sept. 27, "Handling the High-Rises: City Looks to Get Families Out," and the quote by Vincent Quayle, director of the St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center.

It is hard to imagine any scenario, though, in which Mr. Quayle's sarcastic remarks could have been appropriate, and they definitely do not deserve such prominence in an article about improving the public housing problems in Baltimore.

Discussing the terrible conditions in the projects, he states: "I think we should clear them out and rent them to the yuppies from Owings Mills who want to live near the Inner Harbor."

While I am neither a yuppie nor a resident of Owings Mills, I am a middle class Baltimore City homeowner who takes offense at the implied accusations in his statement.

Mr. Quayle seems to blame those fortunate enough to live in nice homes as somehow individually and directly responsible for the trash, urine and dead bodies in the hallways of the projects.

The situation in Baltimore's public housing is undeniably a hellish nightmare and, yes, as a society we are responsible for the deterioration of the inner city and the pathetic conditions under which many Americans are forced to live.

However, many of us are working, in one way or another, to improve this intolerable tragedy, and we are in no way as callous or apathetic as presumed.

If Mr. Quayle needs to lash out and point the finger of blame, let him point it at the last 12 years of Republican administrations which have continuously reduced aid to cities and eliminated support for housing and education programs.

It is just that type of bitter attitude, evident in Mr. Quayle's quote, that increases hostility between the haves and the have-nots and fosters hopelessness among the poor.

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