Sustianble Living

BLOG-A-THON: Save Eustace Conway & Turtle Island

Off the keyboard of RE

Published on the Doomstead Diner May 12, 2013

Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner

Every day on the Internet these days you get treated to something VERY WRONG in our society, but rarely is it possible to do much about it.  I am not certain even in this case of complete TRAVESTY and STUPIDITY much can be done to put a stop to it, but in this case it is so ABHORRENT, so RIDICULOUS, and at least for Diners so UTTERLY against all our principles that every means must be undertaken to at least TRY to STOP it.  So with this article, I begin a Week Long Blog-a-thon to raise awareness and assist someone who truly has lived a life by principles of living in Harmony with Nature

Out there in the Boonies of North Carolina in the Appalachian Mountains there is a man named Eustace Conway who built a life for himself as a Modern Day Mountain Man, on the Model of Jeremiah Johnson.  Jeremiah was a Fictional Character, Eustace Conway is not, he is a VERY REAL Person, and what he built and what he stands for is now under attack by the megalithic State that defines our lives in the Age of Oil.

Pretty much from nothing at the age of 17 Eustace Conway walked out in the Appalachian Mountains and taught himself how to live off the land as a modern day Hunter-Gatherer.  That this was even possible at all without running afoul of the Law before this is remarkable in itself, but not only did Eustace survive this way for the last 40 odd years or so, he actually earned a living in the Monetary sense at the same time, as a Teacher of Primitive Living skills.

He didn’t just earn it and spend it either, since he lived mainly off the land, he spent about none of the money he earned, and so some years ago was able to buy a patch of land of 1000 Acres he dubbed “Turtle Island”.  On this land he build numerous structures, Barns, Cabins etc and created a School for Primitive Living Skills.

North Carolina Building Codes Council: Alter NC building codes to exempt structures at Turtle Island Preserve.

What’s the PROBLEM with this?  The problem is said structures are not “Up to Code”, he doesn’t have flushing toilets and so forth and Sprinkler Systems for Fire Prevention aren’t installed, yadda yadda.  Anybody who has ever worked in the Building industry or run any kind of Commercial enterprise knows how much money it takes to bring everything “Up to Code”.

So the local Goobermint Apparatchiks wanna shut down Turtle Island.  Given the state of the world, there is probably no more important example of how to get off the Oil Economy and become self-sufficient as Turtle Island.  Besides that, it is ludicrous to say these buildings are “unsafe”, since prior to around 1900 or so just about everybody lived in such buildings without toilets and sprinkler systems.

Here on the Diner, besides myself we publish the work of numerous Bloggers all concerned in their own ways with the collapsing Oil Economy and Industrial Civilization.  On almost every one of our Blogs in the Commentary you will find many MORE people concerned with the problems we face, along with the constant Search for Solutions.  Here is a man, Eustace Conway who provides a very REAL and SUCCESSFUL model who now faces seeing his Life’s Work be destroyed by an ever more invasive and omnipresent Fascist Goobermint.

To all my Blogger Friends and Cross Posters here on the Diner, I say we CANNOT LET THIS STAND. We need to use our Bully Pulpit here on the Internet to do the best we can to PUT A STOP to this.  So with this article, I am kicking off a Week Long BLOG-A-THON to Raise Awareness and lend support to Eustace Conway and Turtle Island in the best way we can, with what we do as Bloggers.  This week I ask all my Blogger friends to contribute an article to support Eustace Conway, to Sign the Petition yourselves as I have done and to ask all your readers to do the same.  Together, we all get 100s Thousands of Page Hits/Day.  The Petition only needs another 8000 or so Signatures to meet the 25,000 requirement.  If we muster up all our readers, I am certain we can meet this number of Signatories.

Below I am publishing the Petition written by Dan Tingen, Chairman of the Turtle Island Community published on Change.org.  Please go to that website and sign it, and contribute what you can to keep the Turtle Island Preserve functioning and growing and providing a great example for our Nation and ALL PEOPLE on how to move off the Oil Economy and Reverse Engineer back to a more sustainable way of life more in harmony with the only home we have, Mother Earth.

RE

North Carolina Building Codes Council: Alter NC building codes to exempt structures at Turtle Island Preserve.

Dear Friends of Turtle Island Preserve,

Turtle Island Preserve is in danger. Please read this letter, and, if you feel moved to do so, carefully follow the suggestions for support provided at the end.  

Recently, local county government authorities have targeted Turtle Island Preserve, attacking our way of life, and forcing our educational camp to close to visitors.

On the morning of September 19th, eleven county officials (being paid by tax payers) barged into our living room unannounced, uninvited, and unwelcome. A large caravan of county vehicles blocked our private road, miles away from any public area. The men (some armed) presented a search warrant two and half miles into the interior of our private land, a most intimate zone of refuge where we do not even take visitors, and then spent the next half of the day violating our privacy and photographing our buildings and personal homes. The unwanted invasion team came prepared with topographic maps, aerial photographs, GPS equipment to discern coordinates, laptops, pages of highlighted photographs of unknown origins, and even a county 4-wheeler to more easily get around the property. Much time and tax-payer money had clearly been spent preparing for this deployment against our 501c3 non-profit education center.

The primary focus of this action centers on our buildings and construction methods. The American heritage buildings that we keep alive and teach about are “unacceptable” in today’s modern world. The very building techniques and materials 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.”

Those of you who have visited Turtle Island Preserve know that our structures are unique in that they are built with materials harvested here on the farm and adhere to natural and historical methods. Our buildings are unquestionably structurally sound, but do not fit the wording or application of modern building codes, as the methods used to build them predate the conception of modern building codes.  The veteran, licensed engineer we hired to assess the structural concerns expressed by the county stated that our buildings are “Better than code.” If modern, cookie-cutter buildings fit our purposes or needs, we would have built them. But they certainly do not.

To comply with current, modern building codes and regulations, with no variance or allowance for natural, traditional, historical, cultural or educational models, is at the very least a compromise to our integrity, our mission, and our value to the community and the world.  If we were forced to function like every other public facility, the values, ethics, and practical knowledge we teach would be lost. Trying to force a modern framework around a facility that is specifically designed to be primitive does not make sense. The methods we teach go back tens of thousands of years. The modern building codes go back only 40-50 years.

For the past twenty-six years, Turtle Island Preserve has been a functioning farm and education center for primitive skills, cultural heritage, and traditional/natural living. We are run by volunteer laborers and administrators, good citizens who believe in the worth of volunteering their time to share natural traditional living in hopes of making life for people more meaningful and our impact on the earth a gentler footprint. Our non-profit education center has brought thousands of people from all over the world, of all ages, faiths, and socio-economic backgrounds and enabled them to develop a personal relationship with the natural world.  In many cases, these are people (usually children) who would not have the opportunity to gain that experience elsewhere.  What they get here, they keep forever.

Eustace Conway, full-time volunteer director of Turtle Island Preserve for the past 26 years, now faces the threat of criminal charges. That’s right, for dedicating his life to celebrating and preserving American cultural heritage, his American government is condemning his interest in exercising what he believes is an inalienable human right to build and live in the traditions of our ancestors. He said, “If this was a joke or something out of a science fiction novel about corrupt government control, maybe I could laugh about it… but it is very, unbelievably, maliciously true… and I can only cry about it, and ask for the voice of friends to support me and citizens that care about the ‘American Dream’ of freedom to speak up for their rights and interests now.”

Our recent studies show us that there may be no variance for any private, state, or federal interpretation sites that exhibit natural/primitive historic structures or practices. The recent attack on our home and lifeways makes us question the confines of our state building and county codes on our most fundamental freedoms of American heritage, Appalachian regional culture, and a three million year precedent of inalienable human rights concerning structures and living.

We are working with legal counsel and structural engineers to present a clear and thorough assessment of our structures, practices, and mission to authorities who are not personally familiar with Turtle Island Preserve. We have drawn up a petition and begun a letter writing campaign, all of which we’ll present to the North Carolina Building Codes Council on December 10, 2012 in the hopes of educating the council about the unique importance of Turtle Island Preserve and securing a variance for our continued operation without sacrificing our integrity and commitment to historic structures and natural lifestyle.

We need your help in raising a voice. This matter will not be resolved positively without your support. Please help support Turtle Island Preserve by taking the following steps:

1.      Sign the petition at www.change.org.

2.      Join the letter writing campaign! Write your own letter in support of Turtle Island Preserve, or use the attached letter – just print, sign, and send to the Chairman of the North Carolina Building Codes Council.  Either way, be sure to send us a copy of your letter, too.  

It is impossible to overstate how important your swift support is to the future of Turtle Island Preserve.  With the North Carolina Building Codes Council meeting just three weeks away, we need all the voices we can get, and as quickly as possible. Please set aside a few minutes to sign the petition, send a letter, and stand with us as we work to save Turtle Island Preserve.

Keep checking Facebook for updates, and for more information on the Building Codes Council meeting or if you have any questions at all, please email mail@turtleislandpreserve.com or call our office at 828-265-2267.

In appreciation,

The Staff and Community Members of Turtle Island Preserve

Addresses:

NC Building Codes Council

Dan Tingen, Chairman

322 Chapanoke Dr.

Raleigh, NC 27603

 

Turtle Island Preserve

2683 Little Laurel Road

Boone, NC 28607

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