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Shenandoah: NPS’s “Ethnic Cleansing” Success Story

leah kirk

If you looking for a good read, and perhaps insight into why Daddyboy often puts the National Park Service in the same category as copperheads and scorpions, pick up a copy of Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal bySue Eisenfeld (Univ. of Nebraska Press, $19.95, 216 pages).

“Few things vanish from public memory more quickly than government atrocities,” says Eisenfeld. “When I was growing up on a mountainside across from the Shenandoah National Park in the 1960s, no one spoke of the injustices committed against the mountaineers brutally expelled from their homes in the 1930s to create that park. Instead, all that mattered in Front Royal, Virginia, my nearby hometown and the northern entrance of the park, was that the tourists the park attracted were good for local business.”

Now, almost 80 years after the park was opened, more attention is finally being paid to the redneck ethnic cleansing committed by both the state and federal government. “Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal,” by Sue Eisenfeld, a Johns Hopkins University writing instructor, beautifully captures the mountain people and the official vendetta that made them refugees from their own land.

The Shenandoah National Park was erected on a pyramid of lies. The original advocates claimed that the parkland was practically uninhabited — ignoring the 15,000 people residing within the originally proposed park boundaries. They claimed the land was undeveloped, near-virgin turf — despite its long history of timber harvesting, mining and beef cattle production. They also claimed the land was worth only a trifle of its actual value and thus would be cheap to acquire.

Hmmmmm, Daddyboy heard much the same from people that the NPS cleansed from what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or as the old saying goes, “Hi, I’m with the government to come help you….”