Tag Archives: Colquitt County

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood

The other day somebody asked me to recommend some books about longleaf forests, how they used to be, what happened to them, what can be done now.

I was going to start by posting a short list, but each item was turning into a review, so I’ll just post them one by one as reviews.

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood (The World As Home), by Janisse Ray.

How dirt poor crackers and corporate greed destroyed most of the most diverse ecosystem in North America; yet these same people are the tragic heroes of the book. Half autobiography, half ecology, this book will either get you with Janisse’s “stunning voice” or you won’t get it. If you’re from around here, you’ll hear the wind in the pines, feel the breeze, and see the summer tanagers yellow in the sun. If you’re not, here’s your chance to meet a “heraldry of longleaf” up close and personal.

“I will rise from my grave with the hunger of wildcat, wings of kestrel….”
See Janisse read in Moultrie. “More precious than handfuls of money.” See her wikipedia page for a pretty good bio.

But read the book. If nothing else, you’ll never think the same again about Amazon deforestation once you realize we already did that to ourselves, and in the south we live in the devastated remnants of what was one of the most extensive forests on earth, with longleaf pine trees 100 feet tall and 500 years old, maintained by fire, protecting everything from the Lord God bird to the lowly Bachman’s sparrow, from the rattlesnake-eating indigo snake to the beetles that live in gopher tortoise burrows. The forest can return, because reforestation can pay. Meanwhile, there are still places where you can see how it used to be. Janisse Ray had a lot to do with preserving Moody Forest, too, but that’s another story.


Janisse Ray in Moultrie, 26 Jan 2010

Janisse Ray spoke and read from her books in Moultrie last night. The place was packed with a wide variety of people:

Packed, many ages

Here’s her opening poem: Continue reading

Valdosta, Moultrie & Western Railroad, Ga. 133, and Corridor Z

Reading about the committee wanting to widen Ga. 133 from Valdosta through Moultrie to Albany made me wonder if there had ever been a railroad on that route. Why yes, there was:

VM&W RR Map 1920

Source: Rand McNally Standard Map of Georgia, in Commercial Atlas of America, 1920, found on Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. by Steve Storey

It ran two trains each way each day in 1918 (one was different on Sunday):

VM&W RR Timetable 1918

Source: Official Guide of the Railways, April 1918, found on Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. by Steve Storey

Like Valdosta earlier on a different railroad, the town of Berlin was founded because of the VM&W RR.

Unfortunately, it was short-lived, lasting only from 1910 to 1921. Its demise seems to have been connected with

…the final depletion of the vast supply of timber about 1922 and the railroad systems which had played such an important role in the flourishing development of Berlin ceased operations.

The Origin of Berlin, Berlin Community Volunteer Fire Department Station 31, Berlin, Georgia, accessed 10 August 2008

It's hard to tell from that brief quotation whether the end of the timber caused the failure of the railroads, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a factor.

I see the Lowndes County Commission has on its agenda for Tuesday 12 August a "Resolution in Support of a Four-Lane Project for State Hwy 133 from Albany to Valdosta. This is the same resolution that was before Colquitt County Commission on August 5.

Before the Lowndes County Commission votes, it would be useful to know what have been the effects of Corridor Z, the four lane highway from Jekyll Island to Columbus by way of Tifton and Albany, also known as Ga. Route 520. Has it produced the effects the committee for widening Ga. 133 wants? Has it benefited agriculture and industry? Has it led to more opportunities? What ill effects on local landowners and environment did its construction have?

And what do the people think who live along the route of Ga. 133?