Conservationist, Author to Speak on Struggle to Stop Mountain Devastation


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Conservationist Jay Leutze, author of “Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail,” will speak at 6:30p.m. Thursday, August 23, at the Center for the Environment facility on the Catawba College campus in Salisbury.  

A reception and book signing will follow the presentation, which is a joint venture of the LandTrust for Central North Carolina and the Center for the Environment.

Two years after graduating with a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Leutze moved to his family’s summer cabin in western North Carolina to pursue a simple life. Soon thereafter, his 14-year-old neighbor and her aunt approached him for legal help because a mining company was planning to tear down an adjoining mountain, which happened to be prominently visible from the Appalachian Trail.

“That phone call launched a fierce legal battle over the fate of Belview Mountain that would last almost five years, rally a small army of activists and climb to the state’s highest court,” wrote Glen McDonald in the June 8 edition of the Charlotte Observer. “In the end, Leutze and a grassroots coalition of conservation organizations would set groundbreaking legal precedent concerning revocation of mining permits.”

Leutze will talk about how the community came together to take action and how the book, which garnered a spot on the Top 10 Non-fiction List in southeastern independent bookstores, emerged from the struggle.

A resident of rural Minneapolis, N.C., Leutze is known as an exemplary advocate for North Carolina land trusts who inspires people to act on behalf of the land.  He received the Stanback Volunteer Conservationist Award in 2011 from the N.C. Land Trusts.

He has testified in Washington in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and supports youth environmental education efforts through Muddy Sneakers. Leutze has led efforts to protect more than 1,500 acres of important high-elevation habitat in the Yellow Mountain State Natural Area.  In addition, he is a founding member of the N.C. Mountain Resources Commission.

Books will be sold onsite by The Literary BookPost, and Leutze will be available to autograph copies after his talk. The presentation is free and open to the public but registration is required. 

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