To the editor
I’m writing in support of keeping Mount Jefferson Natural Area open to the public. Our forefathers in Ashe County raised the money and donated land to create this park in 1956. Now, the State of North Carolina has the responsibility to keep it open.
In addition to the Mt. Jefferson being an extraordinary natural habitat that provides free respite for the working and unemployed people of our region, it makes financial sense to keep the park open.
I understand the State projects it would save $210,000 in operating costs by closing the park. The local tourism industry, per NC Department of Parks and Recreation statistics, would lose the $4.1 million in income generated through the 100,000 tourist who visit the park annually.
NC State sales tax revenue generated from the $4.1 million tourist dollars at 5.25 percent is $215,250. Thus the state generates net earnings of $5,250 when the park is open. The county receives 2.50 percent of the sales tax revenue which equal $102,500. Mount Jefferson State Natural area is self-sustaining through sales tax revenue.
It is in the best interest of the people and our economy to keep the park open.
I know that finding $3.8 billion in savings is one tough job but don’t do it on the back of the working people. The working and unemployed people who can no longer go to the beach for a week can still go to Mt. Jefferson for a great picnic and hike.
To see how beautiful Mt. Jefferson is, check out the Mount Jefferson calendar at lulu.com then search under calendars for Mount Jefferson. You will see first-hand the splendor of this
Out of respect for our people and our economy, keep Mt. Jefferson State Natural Area open.