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home : features : features February 5, 2016

9/4/2012 5:00:00 PM
The story of an Appalachian town in the 21st century
Rosita Smith
Palo Verde District Library

BLYTHE - If you laid out a topographical map of the United States, especially one that is color coded with altitude notations, you will notice that there is a mountain ridge that runs north to south on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, much like a pair of huge parenthesis holding the nation together.

Each one of these mountain ranges has an inland hiking trail that runs south to north that is open during the summer months for recreational hiking.

The Pacific Crest Trail begins in the mountains east of San Diego and winds its way through California, Oregon and Washington State, passing through seven national parks and 25 national forests.

Elevations start at sea level and rise to 13,153 feet at Forest Pass in the Sierra Nevada range. The trail was first conceived by Clinton C. Clark in 1932, designated a National Scenic Trail in 1968 and completed in 1993. The trail is 2,663 miles long.

On the Atlantic side, the Appalachian Trail winds northward starting in Georgia and passing through 12 states before exiting the United States in northern Maine. Its elevation runs from 124 feet at the Hudson River to 6,643 feet at Clingmans Dome. It is 2,184 miles long. Its birthdate is lost in history, as this was a trail used by local Indians long before the white man came to our shores. In 1968 the trail officially became a National Scenic Trail.

Author, Jay Leutze, introduces the reader to a small Appalachian town, Dog Town, and its fight to preserve the portion of the Appalachian Trail that runs close by. You meet Ashley Cook, a whip-smart 14-year-old and her aunt, Ollie Cox, who suspect that a mining company that has moved into town and is setting up a rock and gravel operation right across the street from their home is doing so illegally.

If allowed to continue, the company would totally demolish the majestic mountain of Belview and leave a gaping hole that could be seen for miles from the Appalachian Trail. They want Leutze, a non-practicing attorney, to stop the destruction of the mountain.

Stand Up The Mountain is the story of that four-year journey.

Much more than the record of a legal battle, Stand Up The Mountain takes the reader to a remote corner of Appalachia, a region often stereotyped and little understood, even now in the 21st century.

You will meet "Wingfoot" an elusive protector of the Appalachian Trail and Paul Brown, the stubborn engineer who is intent in tearing down Belview Mountain. You will be introduced to the numerous law judges that played a part in this saga, including Charles, who issued the original contested work permit and Ron Howard, who relentlessly pursued legal fight to victory.

Stand Up The Mountain will appeal to conservatives, hikers, attorneys, and readers fascinated by Appalachia rural life - and anyone interested in a compelling story both well written and true.

Stand Up The Mountain is available at the Palo Verde Valley Library on the new non-fiction shelves under 433.756 LEUTZ.

If you are interested in this book or any other book, you can call the Palo Verde Valley Library at 760-922-5371 and have them hold it for you. You will have a week to claim it.

The library is on the north side of Chanslorway across from the senior center located in Todd Park.

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