Pub. Date:
The University of North Carolina Press
Blue Ridge 2020: An Owner's Manual / Edition 1

Blue Ridge 2020: An Owner's Manual / Edition 1

by Steve Nash
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The mountain chain known as the Blue Ridge traces a 550-mile arc through Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Along the way, it encompasses Shenandoah National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, seven national forests, numerous federal wilderness areas and state parks, and parts of the Appalachian Trail. It is the largest concentration of public lands east of the Mississippi and home to an astonishing diversity of plant and animal life. But as the most extensive natural area in the increasingly populous Southeast, the Blue Ridge ecosystem faces unique challenges in the next decades.
Drawing on scientific research in a variety of disciplines, journalist Steve Nash provides a clear and evenhanded introduction to some of the most hotly disputed environmental issues facing the Blue Ridge, including the invasion of exotic plants and insects, the explosive growth of suburban-style communities in natural areas, worsening air and water pollution, and the erratic management of national forests. Informative and highly readable, Blue Ridge 2020 takes a hard look at what is at risk in these mountains and what we—as the "owners" of the public lands—must do if we intend to preserve their future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807847596
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 03/15/1999
Edition description: 1
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Steve Nash is associate professor of journalism at the University of Richmond. His reporting on environmental issues has appeared in numerous publications, including BioScience, The Scientist, National Parks, the Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Bearings
1. Paupers
2. Balance and Disturbance
3. Vectors
4. Chemical Fates
5. Pallbearers
6. IOUs
7. Anyplace, U.S.A.
8. Edge
9. The Beginning of Nature
10. Afforestation
11. Wild Cards


1. National Parks Face the Next Century
2. Climate Change on the Clock
3. A Fighting Chance against Exotics
4. Biopollution: Whose Problem, Who Pays?
5. Breeding Away from Exotic Pests
6. Biocontrol
7. Garden-Variety Threats
8. A House in the Mountains
9. More than Just a Road
10. The Future of Sprawl
11. Land Trusts in the Blue Ridge
12. Suburban Plan: Sustainability
13. Planning for Growth in Mountain Communities
14. Costs of Some New Roads in North Carolina's Blue Ridge
15. Jobs, Growth, and the Nature of the Mountains
16. Disappearing Songbirds
17. Old Growth and Forest Policy
18. Sawmills and Clear-cuts
19. View from the Top: Scramble Ahead
20. Private Land, Public Issues: Chip Mills
21. Public Opinions on Environmental Issues in the Blue Ridge Region


1. Some places mentioned in the text
2. Some towns and cities in the Blue Ridge
3. Spruce-fir ecosystem "islands" in the Blue Ridge
4. Wilderness areas in the Blue Ridge
5. Where does sulfur-based air pollution at Shenandoah National Park come from?
6. Where does sulfur-based air pollution at Great Smoky Mountains National Park come from?
7. Which kinds of natural chemistry reduce visibility in the eastern United States?
8. Which kinds of human-made pollution reduce visibility in the eastern United States?
9. Recent visibility at Shenandoah National Park
10. "Class I" airsheds in the Blue Ridge
11. Cluster housing
12. A traditional subdivision along the Cartecay River
13. Primary state and federal highways
14. Secondary state and county roads
15. "Light duty," local traffic, all-weather paved, and hard-surface roads
16. Unimproved, dry-weather-only roads
17. "Roadless" areas in the Blue Ridge
18. What the Forest Service had in mind for the next century
19. Wood-related employment in the South, 1990-2030
20. Recreation sites in the Blue Ridge where capacity is exceeded during peak weekends
21. Future recreational demand on southern national forests
22. The coming gap between recreational supply and maximum demand in the South


1. The eastern United States
2. The Blue Ridge ecosystem and surrounding region
3. The Blue Ridge ecosystem
4. The Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah National Park, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
5. Acid rain and Blue Ridge rocks
6. Three views of a national park
7. National forestlands in the Blue Ridge
8. Roads on the southern Blue Ridge

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Patient, painstaking and even-handed. . . . A helpful look at a valued resource—just the sort of owner's manual for those who feel a sense of ownership in the Blue Ridge." —Jack Betts, The Charlotte Observer

Steve Nash's treatment of the environmental troubles facing the Blue Ridge Mountains is thoughtful, compelling, and very well stated.—William K. Reilly, former administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Blue Ridge 2020: An Owner's Manual brings to life the rich biological and human heritage of the southern mountains, the environmental issues this important area faces, and the scientific understanding that has developed over the last several decades for this unique landscape. The writing is clear and accurate. But take note of the subtitle: this book also reminds us of our responsibility to be wise stewards of the mountains' rich resources.—Peter S. White, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A fascinating account of the economic and ecological forces shaping the Blue Ridge . . . highly recommended.—Library Journal

Blue Ridge 2020 is a book that needed to be written if we are to have the public awareness that will cause us to do the right things to perpetuate the beauty and charm of the mountains.—Hugh Morton

Steve Nash is a journalist and a college professor, and he approaches the subject of the Blue Ridge Mountains with the discipline required of both professions. In Blue Ridge 2020: An Owner's Manual, he strives to describe his subject with scientific clarity, neither exaggerating the damage done to the forests nor minimizing the dim prospects for many of the species that live there. The result is a thorough and clear-eyed examination of this most precious and majestic resource.—Greensboro News and Record

Takes a hard look at what may happen in the coming decades to the natural systems of the Blue Ridge mountains.—Publishers Weekly

The Blue Ridge is one of earth's hot spots of biological diversity and possesses some of the last remaining old growth forests. Steve Nash's book is the best overview to date of these resources and the environmental challenges they face—from air pollution to development and exotic species invasions. Take heed of the subtitle: the book reminds us that we must partake in the decisions that will affect the survival of these resources for future generations.—Peter S. White, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Connects problems with solutions.—Rupert Cutler, The Roanoke Times

[Nash] has presented a sobering view of what we must do if we want our spaceship Earth, especially here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, to survive.—Harvard Ayers, Appalachian State University

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