Save Moccasin Bend

  • Friday, May 17, 2024

As of today, the petition to Save Moccasin Bend is at 3,142 signatures.

I’ve been active in global sustainable tourism for much of my career. I am currently on a remote Croatian island that the Greeks colonized in the 4th Century B.C. Residents and their government are committed to preserving their archaeological sites—for future generations, for tourism and, most important, to honor their ancestors.

In Albania, I learned that work on a foundation for a new hotel several years ago revealed a nearly intact floor-size ancient mosaic that hadn’t shown up in archaeological studies. To expedite construction, the builder was directed to destroy the mosaic and build over it. Had they preserved the mosaic, perhaps even under glass in the hotel floor, it could have become a significant tourism draw and recognition of their heritage. Instead, what I saw was a bland building.

In recent months, I’ve told historians, archaeologists and tourism professionals in Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Albania and Northern Macedonia about Moccasin Bend. Their initial response is amazement that we have an archaeological site that pre-dates their own by millennia. When I tell them about the state’s current plans, they respond in shock. I’ll paraphrase what several officials told me, “It’s so typically American. Putting short-term financial benefits ahead of honoring its past and preserving something that will inform and attract people for generations to come.”

Most of your constituents do not want the hospital to stay on Moccasin Bend. Relative to preserving our heritage, they care little about financial savings now, and they will care even less in a few years, especially given the loss of long-term tourism revenues. What we do want is a Moccasin Bend Archeological District that reflects the vision and commitments made by you or your predecessors 60 years ago.

The judgment of future generations - and of many of the world’s archaeologists and historians - lies greatly in your hands.

James D. Johnson

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