Posted by Rich/Mohican Press on July 28, 2000 at 07:53:30:
PHOTO: From the back cover of "On The Trail Of The Last Of The Mohicans": Triple Falls from above.
Most of you know, by now, that the stretch of river we call, affectionately, "The River Walk," is the subject of much public debate these days. A huge push is being made to enable this scenic, 2 mile stretch of the Little River (straddling Translyvania & Henderson counties in western NC) to become, for the first time in recent memory, freely accessible to any member of the public who wishes to take in its breath-taking beauty.
Let me back track a bit ...
Back in 1991/1992, when "The Last of the Mohicans" was being filmed, this tract of forest & river & waterfalls belonged to the DuPont Corporation. DuPont took extremely good care of the area & set up beautiful little pavilions and such for company members to use as weekend picnic areas. When I began my search of all the film locations in Spring/Summer 1993 ... about six months after the film had been released ... I vainly attempted to obtain access to the property. DuPont was not interested. Believe me, I badgered & bothered, making every argument I could think of, but all to no avail. They just weren't interested in pointing tourists to their property. Well, apparently I did make an impression of sorts, for in February '94 THEY called ME & asked if was still interested. "But, OF COURSE!" I had all the photos of every location, by this time. All but these ... so, off I went, accompanied by a guide, to photograph. They allowed me two visits. One then, and one later in the mid-Spring. I could photograph & use the shots in my booklet, but I was not allowed to identify the actual locations. Their feeling was that the guide booklet would make a nice little keepsake type of thing to hand out to their business associates. So, also as part of our agreement, I had to turn over a number of copies of the booklet upon completion
Sometime after that, the DuPont plant was purchased by Sterling Diagnostic Imaging. It was through Sterling that we arranged our 1999 Gathering visit. They were most responsive to the idea, even offering us box lunches, if you remember. Unfortunately, there was a major transaction in the works by the time The Gathering actually took place, and the lands were being held by some sort of public trust. Box lunches out the window; the entire visit in jeopordy. AGFA had taken control of the plant & no longer was interersted in keeping the Falls as a part of the property.
There were four waterfalls on the property in question ... Hooker (Mills) Falls, were part of Canoes was shot; High Falls were the 3 Mohicans are seen running after the Hurons during the Clannad sequence; & Triple & Bridal Veil Falls, scene of the River Walk (BV also used for Under The Falls). Fortunately, Hooker was added to the newly developed DuPont State Forest & was secured as a public access area. The other three remained a part of the AGFA tract ...
Well, immediately following The Gathering (which through the good graces of the members of the public trust, many of whom were DuPont/Sterling employees, DID include a visit to these Falls!), big time developer Jim Anthony bought the Falls. I won't go into all the mistruths involved there, but please visit the Friends of the Falls Web Site (linked to on the top of the Mohican Board) for more in-depth coverage of the issues. Suffice it to say, for our purposes, that Mr. Anthony, despite stating that he WOULD keep the area accessible to organized groups, did not. We are living proof. We tried, repeatedly, to ask permission to visit for the 2000 Gathering. Our phone calls & letters fell upon deaf ears. We were never even afforded the couresy of a reply.
The State of North Carolina had tried to purchase these lands. Business dealings gave the land to Anthony. Now, we have a rare chance to undo that and make the entire 2 mile stretch of river open to the public for all to enjoy; to save the scenic beauty of these waterfalls from development. I know, we've made pitches on their behalf before. Right now, the moment of decision is at hand. A last minute surge of support in favor of adding these Falls to the Forest could tip the scales.
PLEASE visit our page on the River Walk ... visit the Friends of the Falls site ... read the E-Mail message below ... make an informed decision & ACT ... right now! Thanks!
E-Mail From "Friends of the Falls":
(Below are two IMPORTANT contacts!!)
This note is a last-minute call to action for those
interested in preventing private development around
the beautiful High Falls, Triple Falls, and Bridal
Veil Falls - all surrounded by the DuPont State
Forest. The NC Council of State meets on Tue., and this issue is on the
agenda. The COS is looking at 2 options:
Option one is using the powers of eminant domain to acquire the entire 2200
acre tract. This option IS REALLY THE ONLY THAT SAVES THE HEART OF DUPONT
STATE FOREST! It addresses all of our concerns: access to waterfalls and
trails, protection of wildlife and fragile unique ecosystems, solves the
deadend at no trespassing signs trails, protection of the river and it's
ecosystem etc. There is 30 million dollars in the Clean Water Management
Trust Fund, more than enough to make this happen. The money is there if
they choose to use it.
Option two is some type of and easement agreement and we(FOF) do nopt know
the details of this proposed agreement. It is unaceptable because it does
not solve the problems mentioned above.
A last minute wave of calls, letters, and faxes are
needed to Governor Hunt and Attorney General Mike
Easley to ensure that they understand the urgency of
this matter. Please contact (or re-contact) these
leaders before Monday noon (July 31):
**** Governor Hunt:
800-662-7952 or 919-733-4240
**** Attorney General Mike Easley:
Fax: (919) 716-6050
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