The author gives a history of the creation of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and how the inhabitants didn’t care much for the taking their land for a park. The park has retained numerous old buildings and log cabins to remember the people who lived there before the Park was created in 1934.
The author talks about how bird feathers were used in women’s hats and market that developed around that. The destruction of bird populations lead to game wardens, laws against feather hunting, and Conservation Acts to protect birds.
The author talks of how his grandad in Carteret County would make a pilgrimage to Bogue Sound to get Bogue Sound watermelons every July of his life. Bogue Sound watermelons are legendary for their sweetness.
The author talks about work of Hugh Hammond Bennett (1881-1960) a native of Anson Co., NC who aroused the nation to the potential perils of soil erosion. His work lead to the establishment of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), Soil Conservation Service and soil conservation districts across the country.
The author talks about the Haw River, one of 17 river basins in North Carolina, whose clear waters in the 1700s wound up a polluted mess by the 1950s. The Clean Water Act of 1972 brought the river back for recreation, but it still struggles with runoff and chemicals.
The author talks about the struggle of the Neuse River with the runoff of fertilizers, pesticides, hog waste, excessive nutrients and erosion. This has led to large fish kills and the creation of Water management Acts and the Neuse River Keeper Foundation as a watchdog program.