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Spatula

Occoneechee Mountain - unrealized potential

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Many of you have probably been to Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area at some point. (If you haven't, go there.) It's rather obscure, but it's the highest elevation in the triangle. This is the first really noticeable foothill you see heading west on I-40. You see it as you head through Hillsborough on 85 or 40.

The natural area is one of several that I think is hurt a lot by commercial presence. The state owns all the area around the hill except at the summit, which is owned by a telecom company that operates a microwave tower. It's a good spot for one, since it's the highest elevation for miles, but it would be a much better spot for a public lookout tower. At the moment, there's no view over the trees at the top open to the public, but there is an old fire tower next to the new tower that could be easily converted into one.

This microwave tower really screws things up. They run a power cable down the side of the hill, and they've clearcut a right of way down that entire area for it. Then there's another high tension ROW running through the park near the overlook. To add insult to injury, there's another mountain nearby that's been mostly destroyed for a stone quarry.

I think this is a wasted natural gem in its current state. The park is pretty small even though there's a lot of good land around it that could be added. The state should buy the summit of Occoneechee, the power ROWs, and the nearby hills currently threatened by quarrying, and convert it to a much larger park. Very few parts of the Triangle are this beautiful, and it's a collosal waste that it's not being protected better.

Thoughts? Other areas you think that have the same problems?

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I always thought this area was more interesting than Umstead. Umstead is an oasis next to sprawling Raleigh and Cary, but was little more than eroded farmland when it became the two parks, that eventually became Umstead. Anyway, I agree, that this unique mountain in this area is special and would make a good target for preservation.

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I always thought this area was more interesting than Umstead. Umstead is an oasis next to sprawling Raleigh and Cary, but was little more than eroded farmland when it became the two parks, that eventually became Umstead. Anyway, I agree, that this unique mountain in this area is special and would make a good target for preservation.

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This would insure that people around there wouldn't have to put up with my presence!

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Oh....well see, you got your outdoors in the watered down suburban ultra safe way with a greenway. I like tight dense cities surrounded by actual wilderness, like Portland. With extremes you get to fully understand the full range of city and the outdoors, instead of a watered down version of each. Over a beer, the tone of voice would hopefully convey my jest, but in reality, I do think folks in the 'burbs need to visit say both Manhattan and hike Linville Gorge.

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Oh....well see, you got your outdoors in the watered down suburban ultra safe way with a greenway. I like tight dense cities surrounded by actual wilderness, like Portland. With extremes you get to fully understand the full range of city and the outdoors, instead of a watered down version of each. Over a beer, the tone of voice would hopefully convey my jest, but in reality, I do think folks in the 'burbs need to visit say both Manhattan and hike Linville Gorge.

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It is pretty up there, I always thought it was a shame that the old fire tower hadn't been replaced as a lookout tower on the summit b/c the elevation there is several hundred feet higher then at the overlook over the old rock quarry...

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