Friday, August 12, 2005
It's amazing that the wonderful music event in the previous postings (below) takes place in an area filled with trees, rivers, and friendly towns (Greater Copper Basin) along the Tennessee/Georgia and North Carolina borders that was once a barren wasteland.
The environmental problems here, caused by copper mining and sulfuric acid production in the 19th and 20th centuries, rate their own section of the EPA's website where you can get EPA cleanup documents and historical photographs. There's also a site all about The Copper Basin Project from Glenn Springs, an Occidental Petroleum subsidiary which is responsible for the ongoing cleanup.
Still a lot of problems here, as shown by the EPA documents and these current day photos, but the transformation is amazing. The photo above seems to show the route of current U.S. 64/74 facing east towards Murphy, NC over the mountains; the view is totally green trees now.
This is an area proud of its mining history, with museums, books and art devoted to the subject, and a booming tourist industry fueled by rafting and kayaking on the Ocoee River, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway between Blue Ridge, GA and Copperhill, TN, and the nearby historic Tennessee Overhill area.