When best intentions go awry

Just what the county needs — more asphalt, more concrete.

Our entire country is getting paved over. Whole neighborhoods are being covered in concrete. Lanes are added, retaining walls are built. Forests are felled. Ecosystems destroyed. Wildlife driven out. Millions of acres fall to this march of ‘progress’ every year.

As someone who’s resisted this obliteration of wilderness, of nature and of rural open spaces his whole life it was natural for me to recognize in Rappahannock County an oasis, a protected space, standing proudly and defiantly against the blind, destructive machinery of the ‘improver.’

It’s why I chose to move here sixteen years ago. It’s why time after time I’ve raised my voice in the public square to defend the old ways, the rural life, the natural rhythms of the countryside and its deeply rooted people.

I might have more openness to a suggestion for hiking trails or bridle paths. These pathways are in harmony with the natural undulations of the land. They do not scar it or change it or make it conform to the human hand. They do not cover the land with concrete or asphalt. The hiker or the horse and rider still sense the earth, the dirt, the land under foot and are one with it.

A bicycle trail is imposed upon the land. It requires more of the land to be buried under tons of concrete. Furthermore, the proposed right of ways in effect create a widening of Route 211, visually and aesthetically imposing the same result as if lanes had been added.

Over the years I’ve been heartened by this community’s’ response to the threats of adding more concrete. We recall the valiant, last minute triumph in stopping the paving of the Grimsley road a few years ago. An enlightened, environmentally conscious community does not lay down more concrete, it removes it wherever and whenever it can.

If there’s any grant money available from VDOT, let’s use it to restore a few more country roads to gravel. To unpave. Not to cover the county in more concrete.

Ron Maxwell
Flint Hill

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