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I am blogging today from the beautiful Big Stone Gap area and the mountains are majestic and the fight for liberty here is awesome.  There is a wonderful effort to honor the founding of country (and bluegrass) music in Southwest Virginia.  The Crooked Road is a tourism initiative to help visitors to appreciate the efforts of the Carter family and others to bring country and bluegrass music to the nation as a whole.

But there is a recent attempt to set up a Crooked Road National Heritage Area and thanks to local governments and patriot activists, the effort to set up this federal designation, and its effect on property rights has been abandoned.  I thank Catherine Turner, Patricia Evans and Sue Long for the information.

In a surprise move, the board of the Crooked Road has decided to give up their efforts to facilitate a National Heritage Area for the counties and communities it serves.

Several localities have voted to not support the effort, which gave the board pause for thought. “We very much felt that we were hearing a side of this issue that we needed to listen to. We couldn’t ignore that and at the same time we were hearing a lot of optimism and hope for this project,” said Wood Crenshaw with the board.

The localities saying no included Wythe County, the Town of Rural Retreat, Russell County, Smyth County and Washington County.

After months of hearing about and discussing whether or not to endorse The Crooked Road’s plan to secure a National Heritage Area designation for the region, Wythe County supervisors came to a decision Tuesday.

Their decision was a unanimous no.


Washington County, Va., joins Russell, Smyth and Wythe counties in publically opposing The Crooked Road’s designation as a National Heritage Area, after the county’s Board of Supervisors voted to draft a resolution of nonsupport for the proposal.

Of course there was the tin hat designation given to those who fought against the federal strings associated:

“Critics of the designation have made numerous claims of adverse effects, most notably that Heritage Areas are a threat to property rights,” Hinshelwood said. “The Crooked Road diligently researched these claims and could not find a factual basis for them. The independent and well-respected Weldon Cooper Center researched these claims on behalf of local government and could not find a factual basis for them. We are not aware that critics of the designation have provided anyone with a factual basis for those claims either.” Jack Hinshelwood, Executive Director, The Crooked Road 

But it is interesting that both this Washington County supervisor and the Farm Bureau both agreed:  Property rights can be affected:

“I think we did the will of the people in Washington County,” said Supervisor Bill Gibson, who spear-headed the motion to send a resolution not supporting the designation. “I would hope other counties and towns and localities that have not voted really study the facts, not just the picture The Crooked Road paints. With federal dollars come federal strings.

Jerry Spraker, vice president of the Wythe County Farm Bureau, addressed the council during citizens’ time during Monday night’s meeting. He presented various reasons why the bureau opposes the NHA – mainly what could happen to private property owners’ rights. A Farm Bureau representative also spoke during the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.Congressman Griffith has now backed away from the proposal

Now it is reported that Congressman Griffith has backed away from the federal proposal.

Griffith released a statement on the matter shortly after the Crooked Road made its decision, saying the designation was never meant to hamper property rights.

“I respect the organization’s decision to discontinue its efforts to seek a National Heritage Area designation,” Griffith said. “It was never the intent to have any local jurisdiction placed into an NHA without its approval. No matter what you think about NHA, the Crooked Road has been and will continue to be a great asset to our area. It provides a good opportunity for folks to visit numerous sites that embrace our musical heritage across the district.

“As I have previously stated, I do not support any legislation that does not respect the private property rights of individuals.”

You do not need a federal designation to promote the wonderful Southwest Virginia region.  Here is the Crooked Road website.  Maybe liberty activists in Virginia and surrounding states should consider Southwest Virginia for their next vacation.  Let’s support liberty when it arises!   Hat’s off to them and enjoy that sweet tea or whatever you drink before you get ready for the next fight.


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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