Monday, January 2, 2012

The Taking of Shenandoah National Park

The Dream and Displacement that Built Skyline Drive

Massanutten Lodge
The flamboyant promoter George Freedman Pollack owned the Skyland Resort and was one of the park's biggest supporters. His resort was preserved as a visitor lodging facility while Blackrock Springs resort in the Southern District and other private businesses were closed.

I grew up loving Shenandoah National Park. My Mother had hiked White Oak Canyon and Old Rag Mountain as a girl and I inherited her wonder at this beautiful world of natural splendor. Mom also went to school in Criglersville with schoolmates who's families had been removed from the land that was to become Shenandoah.

This week Lynn writes about Shenandoah's History [click to read]. Her story, accompanied by wonderful photos, is great reading.

I find the abuses of eminent domain in the park's aquisition troubling. The handful of residents who refused to leave could have been handled much more humanely. Indeed, the park's mission might have been better served in the long run had the State of Virginia created a 'Park Zone' and offered the option of life tenancy where it did not compromise preservation of irreplacable natural resources.

Shenandoah actually did allow life tenancy in a few instances. The last resident, Annie Shenk, lived in Shenandoah through the 1970s.

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