Folks… This one’s important. Please take the time to read this in its entirety, and if you’re so inclined to take action below. Trey & Coley
Update: Sunday night… The response to this has been overwhelming. We’ve had over 25,000 visits in the past 4 days. We talked to Eustace Conway last night and will be publishing a letter from him tomorrow expressing his thanks. And if you would, please “like” us on Facebook by clicking the “like” button about halfway down the right side of this page. This will ensure that this story will continue to be shared far and wide. Thanks!
Update: Monday afternoon… Letter from Eustace Conway here.
Government should serve the people. Unfortunately, over time the nature of government is to grow beyond its usefulness. It becomes unhealthy and obese.
When our country was formed it was based on awesome ideals. The flag and the national anthem represented those ideals. So far so good. But over time those ideals slip further and further away until all we are left with is a song, a flag and a government that has lost touch with its fundamental purpose.
As government continuously increases it’s control over every aspect of our lives we lose more and more of our freedoms. What threatens the growth of government? Is it the fiscal cliff we are hearing about in the news? Is it the citizen anger over government bailouts? Is it the loss of faith in central planning? How about the debasement of our currency? How about the growing concern over the government trampling our civil liberties? Is it Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street protests?
No. When we’re angry we’re still engaged… We still show up to vote for this candidate or that candidate and expect them to right the ship.
The real threat to government is when it is ignored. When we turn our backs on it and demonstrate that we no longer need it.
Like an incorrigible narcissist, government demands our attention. When citizens no longer feel the need to bow in adoration, fear, or submission, government takes great offense.
But what if that wasn’t the case? What if we learned how to take care of ourselves? To become more self-reliant? More resilient? What if we didn’t need government deciding everything for us?
For government at all levels such thoughts are hugely threatening and when such subversive thinking surfaces government can be swift to react. Case in point: Turtle Island Preserve.
Turtle Island Preserve is a non-profit education center in the mountains of North Carolina run by Eustace Conway, one of the last true “mountain men” in America today.
Conway has been featured in the Mountain Men series on the History Channel and the book The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert. Turtle Island is where Trey and his son learned how to make fire last summer as he wrote about here.
Turtle Island Preserve has been a functioning farm and education center for over 26 years. They teach the power of self-reliance and resilience through mastery of traditional skills. They help perserve our cultural heritage.
It is run by a volunteer labor force and has brought people from around the world to learn the transformational power of self-reliance.
On September 19th, nearly a dozen local government agents (many armed) stormed Turtle Island Preserve.
The agents barged into Eustace’s living room unannounced, uninvited, and unwelcome. They presented him with a search warrant. Government vehicles blocked his private road and agents armed with topographical maps, aerial photographs, laptops and GPS equipment spent most of the day on Eustace’s property violating his privacy and photographing his buildings and homes.
What prompted such an extreme government response? Simple: Eustace Conway refused to bow before the altar of county government officials. The buildings on Conway’s property are constructed using traditional American heritage methods that Conway has kept alive and well. Such methods are apparently “unacceptable” to the county officials. According to Conway:
“…the very building techniques that all of our ancestors thrived with are now being deemed unacceptable and targeted as ‘illegal’ because they don’t fit into the cookie-cutter code status that is so extremely far from what we are about. The buildings and lifestyle of our working farm and education center teach about true American freedom. The invasive attack was a surreal wake-up call to the illusion of the American myth: “Land of the free.”
The threat Eustace Conway’s Turtle Island Preserve represents has nothing to do with building or health code violations. Those are simply a pretense… What it really has to do with is something government finds threatening: Independence, freedom and self reliance.
And this is exactly what Conway personifies and teaches to others. But the story of Turtle Island Preserve gets more interesting…
The land at Conway’s Turtle Island preserve is becoming more valuable. A huge development project called Laurelmor just over the ridge from Conway’s property was slated for golf courses and million dollar, debt-fueled McMansions before the project went bankrupt when the real estate bubble burst in 2008.
It was later sold for $32 million to a second group of developers. When the original Laurelmor plan was proposed, the county manager, in a moment of bureaucratic giddiness, boasted that the project “could add a significant amount to the tax base”, and “could have a property value of between $2.5 and $3.5 billion.”
The government would make a lot more money if the land was developed.
Conway is a threat because he represents true independence and freedom, but he’s also being victimized because the valuable land he owns makes the tax feeding class salivate. The first step to gaining control over his land is for local government to issue a litany of penny-ante “code” violations. This is how predatory government often works… Even at the local level.
Sadly Turtle Island Preserve has now been closed… And Conway has been forced to lawyer up — an exceedingly distasteful prospect for a guy that lives in the woods, shoes his own horses, builds his own house, and grows and kills his own food.
But we can do something about it. Please go to Change.org now and sign the petition in support of Turtle Island Preserve. Petitions will be presented to the Chairman of the North Carolina Building Codes Council on December 10th, so we don’t have much time.
You can also stay up-to-date on the situation through the Turtle Island Preserve page on Facebook.
While you’re at it, call the Watauga County Planning & Inspections Department (828-265-8043) and the Appalachian District Health Department (828.264.4995) and let them know exactly what you think of their shenanigans.
And be sure to forward this story to as many friends and colleagues as possible. Folks like Eustace Conway are a rare treasure because they represent what freedom, liberty and self-reliance are all about. Take five minutes and make your voice heard… It will make a difference.