A group of us from across the state, including a handful from Durham, are resurrecting Scenic North Carolina as a statewide voice for scenic preservation. I've been elected to take a turn as president and soon I will explain how others can get involved.
Scenic North Carolina is already listed as an affiliate of Scenic America and working with others across the country to oppose blight and promote alternatives. Unfortunately, Scenic North Carolina fell dormant a decade ago, and in its absence a ghastly overreaching piece of billboard legislation was rammed through the legislature in the last session pushed by special interests that are wallpapering views of one of the nation's most scenic states behind 8000 outdoor billboards along roadsides and throughout communities.
The mission of Scenic North Carolina will not only be to stand up against blight such as outdoor billboards, but to promote alternatives to this long obsolete form of advertising with exit logo signs and a coherent system of statewide wayfinding signs.
But Scenic North Carolina is about much more than eliminating billboard blight. Scenic preservation is about protecting, restoring, and preserving scenic attributes of our state including the unique sense of place of our communities, which has always been at the heart of our state's successful pursuit of economic vitality including tourism.
Scenic North Carolina will be equally concerned about trees and landscaping along city streetscapes as well as state roadways and medians and with transforming parking lots into beautiful public spaces.
Scenic preservation is also about placing a true market value on native and establish trees that goes beyond their value only as pulp to include their well documented and quantified role in carbon sequestration, pollution control, private property values, crime reduction, cooling and scenic easement.
Scenic preservation also includes parks, trails and other public spaces. It includes appropriately sized on-premise signage, lighting standards, burial of utility lines, protection of landscaping during construction, litter and graffiti removal, historic preservation, beach, lake, river and stream cleanup and restoration and more.
Scenic North Carolina will give voice to the nearly 8 out of every 10 North Carolinians who, in scientific, generalizable surveys, view blight such as billboards as a desecration on our state.