Bele Chere and the Green Swamp

This weekend, Asheville is celebrating Bele Chere – three days of music, art, food and booths by nonprofits. And like most people, we walked around, looked at art and ate. But I also talked to environmental nonprofits to see what their issues were.

The Dogwood Alliance had a “case against KFC”. Their argument was that KFC was destroying southern forests, in particular, the Green Swamp in North Carolina. Now, you have my attention. I am writing my book on the Mountains-to-Sea Trail; I am steeped in the swamp, so to speak.

But where is the Green Swamp and who owns it? The people staffing the booth couldn’t tell me. Was is public or private? They had no idea other than it was someplace in eastern North Carolina. We know that; it’s not in the mountains.

I checked it out on the web. Some of the Green Swamp is owned by the Nature Conservancy.

Now, I’m fairly certain that the Nature Conservancy is not letting KFC or anyone else take trees from the Green Swamp. So there must be other parts of the Green Swamp that are private.

According to the Dogwood Alliance, International Paper manages the other land in the Green Swamp. But who are the owners of the Green Swamp land? Why aren’t they identified? I couldn’t find the answer on the website of the Dogwood Alliance or anyplace else.

Why go after those who buy the wood rather than the companies who cut down the trees in the first place?

And why are the people who staff the booths so clueless?

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