Lutheridge Power Line Update

8/24/2015

Lutheridge faces a serious threat from an electric transmission line running through the site.   Your help is urgently needed to help divert Duke Energy from routing the transmission line through the site. 

Thanks to so many for already responding to this concern.  I’ve heard from people across the southeast and have received excellent counsel.  Here is an update on what you can do to help:

·       The public commentary ends on August 31, so you need to act fast to give your input.

·       Legal counsel has advised that copies of any resolution (or petition), along with your comments on the Duke Energy website, should be forwarded to state officials and each member of the North Carolina Public Utilities Commission.  Their contact information is attached to this update.

·       Dr. Ed Hauser, a good friend of NovusWay, who is an ecologist and environmental biologist has completed a Phase I environmental assessment.  It is posted on both NovusWay (www.NovusWay.com) and Lutheridge (www.Lutheridge.com) websites.  Be sure to include this with your resolution.

Following is a synopsis of the situation:

Duke Energy is seeking to run an electric transmission line from Campobello, SC to the Lake Julian power plant in south Asheville.  Three possible routes have been identified, with Lutheridge in the path of the easternmost route.  The line would enter the site near the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Airport Road, pass by Whisnant Chapel and the outdoor worship area by the chapel (where many crematory remains are scattered), run through the site and exit over the gatehouse or between the gatehouse and Trinity View.  The transmission lines are supported by 100’ steel towers and a 150’ easement is cleared.  It goes without saying this would severely and negatively impact the site and do irreparable harm to the ministry.

You and your congregation can help in three ways:    

1.     If you haven’t already done so, please have your congregational council pass a resolution that opposes the route through Lutheridge (Route 17B-17C) and return it to:  wctransmissionenhancements@duke-energy.com and copy kbeck@novusway.com.  If your council doesn’t meet before August 31, you can adapt the resolution into a petition and submit it by August 31.  Please also send your resolution/petition to all of the people/locations listed below the sample resolution. Please be sure to personalize the resolution.  State if the congregation or members use Duke Energy.  Identify ways that Lutheridge has been influential in the life of the members and your congregation over the years. 

2.     Personally voice your concern and encourage congregational members to voice their concern by going to the Duke website at http://dukeenergyfoothillsproject.power-viz.com/.  Remember this must be done by August 31. You can view the potential route (17B-17C) and there is a means for public comment.  Here are the steps to follow:

·       Scroll down and click on Interactive Map;

·       Click on “Enter”;

·       Click on “Submit a Comment”;

·       Register – you will need to give your name and create a user name and password;

·       Login – using your newly created username and password; and

·       Select a location for Comment – 2511 Hendersonville Road, Arden, NC 28704.

·       Complete the questionnaire and type your comments in the text box provided.

3.     Please lead your congregation in praying diligently that the electric transmission line is diverted away from Lutheridge.  We all understand the line is needed in Duke’s quest to move away from coal to natural gas power plants and there is a growing need for cleaner power in western North Carolina.  However, running the line through Lutheridge would severely and negatively impact the site and do irreparable harm to the ministry.

Duke Energy has indicated that they will select a primary route by October 1.  In the meantime I will keep you informed of developments and share additional information as it becomes available.  Please know how much your support and partnership is appreciated as we seek to preserve the integrity and mission of NovusWay and Lutheridge “providing places set apart to inspire and empower all in Christ’s love.” 

 

 

 

Electric Transmission Line Contact List

To Voice Your Comments/Concerns/Resolutions

Regarding Duke Energy Foothills Project

 

Note:  We have been advised by legal counsel that copying the following list of individuals is just as important as responding to Duke Energy at the email address provided: wctransmissionenhancements@duke-energy.com       

1.    Lynn J. Good, President and C.E.O./Vice Chair of the Board

Paul R. Newton, State President – NC

Duke Energy Progress

P.O. Box 1771

Raleigh, NC 27602                              Phone:  888-238-0373 or 704-382-2355

 

2.    Governor Pat McCrory

North Carolina Office of the Governor

20301 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-0301                Phone:  919-814-2000

 

3.    Senator Tom Apodaca

1504 Fifth Avenue West                 Email:  info@senatorapodaca.com

Hendersonville, NC 28739            Phone:  828-696-0574

 

4.    State House of Representatives

Rep. Chuck McGrady

304 Legislative Office Bldg.          Email:  chuck.mcgrady@ncleg.net

Raleigh, NC 27603-5925                Phone:  919-733-5956

 

5.    North Carolina Utilities Commission

4325 Mail Service Center              Email:  consumer.services@psncuc.nc.gov

Raleigh, NC 27699-4300                Phone:  866-380-9816 or 919-733-7328

 

Edward S. Finley, Jr.                           Chairman                                                 finley@ncuc.net

 

Bryan Beatty                                          Commissioner                                      bbeatty@ncuc.net

 

Susan Rabon                                          Commissioner                                      srabon@ncuc.net

 

ToNola D. Brown-Bland                                     Commissioner                                      tbrownbland@ncuc.net

 

Don M. Bailey                                        Commissioner                                      dbailey@ncuc.net

 

Jerry C. Dockham                                Commissioner                                      jdockham@ncuc.net

 

James G. Paterson                             Commissioner                                      jpatterson@ncuc.net

 

6.    U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Mark Meadows

Henderson County Court House

200 North Grove Street, Suite 90

Hendersonville, NC 28792           Phone:  202-225-6401

 

7.    Buncombe County Commissioners

David Gantt – Chairman

82 Church Street                                 Email:  commissioner@davidgantt.com

Asheville, NC 28801                          Phone:  828-252-2852

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample Resolution – Be Certain to Personalize 

RESOLUTION FROM ______________________ LUTHERAN CHURCH

TO SUPPORT THE PROTECTION OF THE CAMP LUTHERIDGE CAMPUS AND TO OPPOSE THE DUKE ENERGY PROPOSED ELECTRIC TRANSMISSION LINE THROUGH THE CAMP

WHEREAS: Camp Lutheridge understands and respects the desire of Duke Energy to move from coal to gas at its Lake Julian plant to safely and more efficiently transfer power as is needed for residential and economic growth in the surrounding areas.

WHEREAS: Camp Lutheridge is a Christian camp and retreat center in Arden, NC.

Natural and naturalized areas and open green space are a crucial part of its outdoor activities and programs on a year-round basis and represent the largest tract of such land (172 acres) in Arden, NC.

WHEREAS: Camp Lutheridge is designated as a Caring for Creation Center by the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), in concert with its Social Statement on Caring for Creation, providing a place to train leaders to be better stewards of God’s creation and promoting environmental ethics and values.

WHEREAS: Close canopied oak hardwood forest would be severely damaged by the proposed power line, which would also compromise a spring-fed intermittent stream and hinder a population of 1,000 southern brown bats that use the entire area for feeding.

WHEREAS: Over 69 years, Camp Lutheridge has been providing summer camp for youth in grades 1-12;  annual year-round programs for over 15,000 youth and adults of all faiths from across the country;  regular programs for mentally delayed and handicapped individuals;  and weeklong outdoor environmental education courses for public and private schools, in concert with the NC educational curriculum.

WHEREAS: Over forty million dollars have been spent acquiring land and building a camp infrastructure consisting of an outdoor chapel, cabins, residence halls, adult housing, dining room, a large multi-purpose gathering center, outdoor worship spaces, water recreation areas, and other support facilities.

WHEREAS: a new swimming pool and play area were just completed in 2015 at a cost of over $635,000 and will be negatively impacted if it is in the proposed path of the electric transmission line.

WHEREAS: There have not been studies to demonstrate unequivocally the connections of electromagnetic fields and disease, but there is credible evidence of negative effects and the electric transmission line could run near or directly over the new swimming pool and the largest recreation field where thousands of children play.

WHEREAS: Whisnant Chapel, an active congregational and ministry worship center where marriages are regularly conducted along with an Outdoor Chapel area, which is the crematory sacred grounds of dozens of people, is near or directly in the path of the proposed electric transmission lines and towers.

WHEREAS:  Six acres of Camp Lutheridge houses Trinity View, 100 residential apartments and 20 assisted living apartments for senior citizens, and the facility is within the 1000 foot proposed corridor.

WHEREAS: Construction of an electric transmission line by Duke Energy through Camp Lutheridge would negatively impact the visual and scenic beauty, ecological integrity of ecosystems and animal and plant species; would negatively affect outdoor environmental and religious program activities;  would seriously discourage parents from allowing children to attend the camp;  and would cause irreversible and permanent harm to the ministry.

NOW BE IT RESOLVED: That ______________________ Lutheran Church, being a prudent Christian steward and supporter of Camp Lutheridge and its ministries, requests that Duke Energy find an alternate route for its electric transmission line OUTSIDE OF THE LUTHERIDGE CAMPUS AREA. This Resolution was approved by unanimous vote on August ___, 2015.  

 

A Phase I Environmental Assessment

for the Camp Lutheridge Outdoor Ministry Site

with a Focus on the Proposed Duke Energy Electric Transmission Line’s Subject Area

 

(A Certified Caring for Creation Center of the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)

 

 

Written By:          Dr. Edward J.P. Hauser,

                                    Ecologist and Environmental Biologist

                           43 Webb Cove Road

                           Asheville, NC 28804

                           828-236-1992

                           eee622@aol.com                         

 

                           Mrs. Susan Troutman, Chief Operating Officer

                           Camp Lutheridge – NovusWay, Inc.

                           28 Spruce Dr.

                           Arden, NC 28704

 

For the:               Camp Lutheridge – NovusWay, Inc.

                           Board of Trustees and

                           Mr. Keith Johnson, Executive Director

 

 

                           August 25, 2015

 

                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                               TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Section                                 Title

 

 

1.00 …………… Camp Lutheridge Introduction and Overview

 

 

2.00 …………… Camp Lutheridge Religious and Spiritual Heritage

 

 

3.00  …………… Camp Lutheridge History, Programs, and Users

 

 

4.00  …………… Camp Lutheridge Ecological Characteristics

 

 

5.00 …………… Duke Power Electrical Transmission Line Impacts

 

 

6.00  …………… Conclusions Regarding Findings

 

 

7.00  …………… Appendices:  Exhibits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECTION 1.00    Camp Lutheridge Introduction and Overview

 

1.01  Camp Lutheridge Description

 

Camp Lutheridge is located in Arden, North Carolina on 160 acres.  Approximately 90% of the acreage is in open green space, consisting mainly of upland forest with some mowed meadows. This green space is crucial for and supports outdoor environmental education, nature study, and Caring for Creation religious ministry activities. Outdoor and indoor programs are provided year round forchurch groups, youth, adults, andfamilies. About > 90% of all programs and activities use the natural setting of Camp Lutherdge as an integral component. In addition to providing for religious activities and programs, regional companies and community groups can also come to Camp Lutheridge and plan their own retreats, workshops, or meetings.

Lodging options range from comfortable hotel style facilities to rustic cabins. A professional chef provides delicious meals and accommodates all allergies and dietary needs.  An open-air roofed chapel, an outdoor chapel, and a recently built large group multipurpose assembly hall building support religious services of all kinds. Camp Lutheridge is conveniently located three miles from the Asheville Regional Airport and just off of Interstates 40 and 26 making it very accessible.

The 160 acres includes:  residence halls, conference centers, cabins, a dining hall, a small lake, hiking trails, group interaction course, swimming pool, and a challenge tower, as well as other recreational field activities. Meeting spaces include wireless internet, projectors, comfortable chairs and furniture, along with support staff to help make a meeting or retreat a great success. See Exhibit 1: Baseline Map, which indicates the campus infrastructure of buildings, roads, and trails.

Camp Lutheridge is designated as a Caring for Creation Center by the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (hereinafter referred to as the ELCA), with which it is affiliated.

This report represents a level one environmental assessment; it documents the campus infrastructure of roads and trails, buildings, and natural or naturalized areas.  Each section discusses in a holistic and conceptual way all germane features. A power point presentation photo documents all existing conditions and is an appendix to this report.

Finally, thanks are due to Susan Troutman for providing historical program data for Camp Lutheridge given in sections below.

 

 

1.02    Reason for this Study

 

Duke Energy has proposed three possible routes for a 230-kilovolt electrical transmission line from North Carolina to South Carolina. One of the proposed routes would run through Camp Lutheridge.  Currently, Duke Power has provided sketch maps on which the proposed power line location is represented by a line.  The firm has indicated that the actual needed easement corridor could be 500’ on either side of the line.  It appears that the subject corridor would run over or through the north end of the Camp Lutheridge campus, which includes the existing: chapel, Quiet Way trail, recreation open field meadow, and the water pool recreational area.  A maintenance building, retirement community for senior citizens and two staff residential homes could also be negatively impacted.

 

Thus, this study focuses on the environmental impacts of this subject area.

 

 

SECTION 2.00    Camp Lutheridge Religious and Spiritual Heritage

 

2.01  Camp Lutheridge Religious and Spiritual Heritage

 

A fundamental premise for all camp religious programs and activities is that they are Christ-centered and that God’s Creation at Camp Lutheridge is in concert and harmony with the historical and spiritual legacy of the landholdings it uses for its ministry in the Lutheran Church.

 

Various chapters in our Christian Bible represent the spiritual foundations for the religious programming that occurs at Camp Lutheridge as follows.

 

In Genesis 2: we are told to “go and till and keep the earth”.  In a contemporary ecological sense, this means to sustain the whole of Creation for future generations of humankind and all creatures; to be stewards and trustees of God’s Creation.

 

In Genesis 3: God tells Noah that His first and lasting covenant is not only with all of his descendants, but with all creatures, with the whole of Creation. This concept is repeated four times.  It emphasizes thatthe Creator and Care for Creation are inseparable.

 

In Numbers 35 we are told “you shall not pollute (defile) the earth in which you live.”

 

In Deuteronomy 30 we are told “Therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live.”

 

To protect the existing integrity of the ecological elements and support infrastructure for all of the Camp Lutheridge Christian religious programming, now and in the future, is a legacy established by the original founding fathers of the camp.  It is the intention of the current board of trustees and professional staff to leave this legacy for all future generations of camp participants.

 

 

2.02    The ELCA Social Statement on Caring for Creation:

Vision, Hope, and Justice

 

As part of its long standing commitment to caring for the earth, the ELCA national assembly ratified in 1993 a social statement on Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice. This statement was revisited in 2003 and was affirmed to still be valid and biblically based; thus, it remains as a major document affiliated with the ministries of the ELCA. It has provided for the media, a succinct description as follows.

 

The “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice” social statement explains the ELCA’s teachings on ecology and the environment, grounded in a biblical vision of God's intention for the healing and wholeness of creation. This statement provides a Christian understanding of the human role to serve in creation, and a hope rooted in God’s faithfulness to the creation from which humans emerge and depend upon for sustaining life. It provides a framework for understanding the human role in creation, the problem of sin and the current environmental crisis.

 

Based on this 15-page statement which promotes holistic Christian and Biblically focused guidance for environmental stewardship, Camp Lutheridge was certified as a Caring for Creation Center by the North Carolina Synod of the ELCA in 2009.  The certification elements have provided the foundation for the Outdoor Ministry Programs of Camp Lutheridge. Based on the above premises, the governing board of trustees has adopted the current mission and vision statements.

 

MISSION:Providing places set apart to inspire and empower all in Christ’s love.

 

VISIONThat all who come experience God’s love in community and creation, then go to love and serve.

 

STATEMENT OF CORE VALUES

 

 

The following core values inform and guide us as we discern what God would have us do as leaders of Camp Lutheridge and NovusWay Ministries.

 

As Christ-centered leaders of Camp Lutheridge, we are passionately committed to:

 

1) SPIRITUAL GROWTH:

2 PETER 3:18 -- "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen."

 

It's ALL about God, and building up the Body of Christ. Growing in grace, we are guided God's Word, equipped for every good work, and giving glory to God.

 

2) INTEGRITY:

1 Corinthians 4: 1-2 --"Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy."

 

We endeavor to demonstrate exemplary practices accountable to Christ, each other, our participants, and our community. 

 

 

3)    ENVIRONMENT:

Called by God to "keep the earth" (Genesis 2:15),we nurture a deeper appreciation of our environment and our responsibility to live in responsible relationship with all of God's creation. 

 

4) COMMUNITY:

Romans 15:7 -- "Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God."

 

We strive to create an environment of genuine community with generosity and compassion that is responsive to the needs of those we serve.

 

4)    PROSPERITY:

2 Corinthians 9:8 -- "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."          

 

As God's stewards, we carefully manage every resource God brings to us, knowing that each gift is provided by God’s hand through the efforts of others.We prepare for the future to provide the stability to continue God’s work.

 

5)  TEAMWORK:

Ephesians 4:16 -- "From whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love."

 

United in vision, we value a diversity of talents and skills in our leadership and we cultivate an environment of cooperation to accomplish our mission.

 

 

6)    COMPETENCE:

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 -- "Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God".

 

We demand high standards of competence and performance in ourselves and expect accountability.

 

 

SECTION 3.00    Camp Lutheridge History, Programs and Users        

 

3.01  History of Camp Lutheridge 

 

The dream for a Lutheran Assembly Grounds in western North Carolina goes back to the early decades of the 20th century.  In the 1920’s, Lutherans from South Carolina and North Carolina each convened annually at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain.  It was at this time that the dream for a Lutheran Assembly grounds took shape.  However the Great Depression and World War II stalled the search. 

 

After the war, in 1946, 171.5 acres was finally located in south Buncombe County and it was named Camp Lutheridge.  In 1947 the South Carolina Synod joined the venture, followed by the Georgia/Alabama Synod in 1949.  In subsequent years Lutherans from Tennessee, Mississippi and Florida also became owners of Camp Lutheridge.  Today the constituency comprises over 700 Lutheran (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) congregations from across seven southeastern states.  Dr. J. Lewis Thornburg was selected as the first Executive Director in 1949 and by the time of his retirement in 1966 the Camp Lutheridge investment had grown in value to several million dollars.

 

The first building, Efird Hall, was constructed and dedicated in 1952.  Funds were gifted for the facility back in 1936 and held in trust by the North Carolina Synod, so it shows how long Lutherans had been anticipating the new assembly grounds.  Whisnant Chapel was completed in 1952, followed by the first of two residences in 1953, with the second residence completed four years later.    Each of these early structures lies within the 1000’ zone of the electric transmission line.

 

It is interesting to note that shortly after the completion of Whisnant Chapel that the tradition began for campers to hold a lighted candle and to select a rock that represented their life and then walk from the lake up to Whisnant Chapel.  They would leave the rock as a sign of committing their life to Christ.  The rocks were later used to construct an outdoor worship altar near the chapel and this is literally holy ground for hundreds of former campers who now are pastors, leaders and supporters across the southeastern U.S.  It is also the final resting place for the crematory remains of dozens of these campers who processed up Crescent Hill in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.

 

The fourth structure that could be affected by the electric transmission line is a new swimming pool/water park that was completed in May 2015 and lies adjacent to Bischoff Lodge and six year-round cabins.  The pool is at the heart of summer camp and Bischoff Lodge is the base for youth programs in the non-summer months.  The recreation field is adjacent to the entrance gatehouse and the electric transmission line would likely pass over the field.

 

The Camp Lutheridge campus has now grown to 38 camper cabins of which 15 are winterized.  There are 16 additional, significant structures that serve year round, including Lineberger Dining Hall that can accommodate 450 people and the Faith Center (auditorium) that can serve up to 550.  The summer camp capacity is 500 and the non-summer capacity is 300.

 

Section 3.02 (below) contains a listing of programs that include international conferences (HARP and Alternate Roots), national conferences (Lutheran Outdoor Ministries and Awaking Soul) and numerous regional events (professional leaders’ conference for rostered leaders, Women of the ELCA and many others).

 

3.02  Programs and Users

 

Annual sampling of Camp Lutheridge programs and typical annual attendance based on 2014-2015:

 

Spring/Fall program offeringswith an average of 3 day stay:

-   1693 adults

-   207 youth

 

Summer program offeringswith an average of 6 day stay:

-   555 adults

-   68 mentally handicapped adults and youth

-   1,754 youth (Faith formation, adventure programs and mission/servant week)

 

Summer leadership development trainingwith an average of 12 week stay:

-   120 young college age adults

 

 

Year round hosted ministry retreatsfrom across country on average 3 day stay. Below is a sampling of the varied groups and individuals attending with home town indicated where available (averaging 11,000 participants annually):

 

-       Wilderness First Responder Workshop – Landmark Learning

-       Howard’s Creek Baptist Church

-       Boy Scouts of America Pack 73

-       Resurrection Lutheran Church volunteer retreat

-       St James Lutheran Church Family retreat

-       St Michael’s Lutheran Church Winterfest

-       Daisy/Brownie GS of America Troop 2198

-       Faith Lutheran Church Sarasota FL Youth retreat

-       Christus Victor Lutheran Church Columbia, SC

-       St Luke’s Lutheran Church, NC

-       Trinity Lutheran Church, Greenville SC Youth

-       St Stephen Lutheran Church, Decatur GA

-       St John’s Lutheran Church, Spartanburg, SC

-       Grace Lutheran Church, Rock Hill, SC

-       Lutheran Southern Theological Seminary

-       Clemson University Lutheran Campus Ministry

-       UNC Asheville Outdoor Leadership Training Program

-       Calvary Lutheran Church Youth, Apollo Beach, FL

-       St John’s Lutheran Church, GA

-       Via de Cristo

-       United Methodist Church Men’s Retreat Charlotte, NC

-       Epiphany Lutheran Church Confirmation Retreat

-       Holy Comforter Lutheran Church Belmont NC

-       Concordia Lutheran Church

-       Happy Stitchin’ Quilting Group Retreat

-       Morning Star and Spirit of Joy Lutheran Churches retreat, NC

-       Epiphany Lutheran Church, Winston-Salem NC

-       Iglesia Luterana de Cristo Family retreat

-       Faith Lutheran Church Albermarle, NC

-       Society for Creative Anarchism

-       Estes Elementary School, Asheville, NC

-       Christ the King Lutheran Church, Charlotte NC

-       Clemson University Leadershape Training week

-       Inner Focus

-       Lamb Family picnic

-       Trinity Lutheran Church, Fletcher NC

-       Springs of Grace Lutheran Church, Inman SC

-       Crafts for Christmas Retreat

-       Grace Lutheran Church, Prosperity SC

-       Trinity Lutheran School, FL

-       Fine Wine Tennis Group Retreat

-       Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Choir Retreat, John’s Creek, GA

-       Hahn Anniversary Event

-       St Mark’s Lutheran Church Retreat, Asheville NC

-       Faith in Christ Lutheran Church “TWIGS” Mission Week

-       Verner Center Staff picnic

-       Hough High School Band Camp Week

-       ROOTS National Conference

-       Wheatmore High School Band Camp Week

-       Church of God IYC Retreat

-       Nativity Lutheran Church, Arden NC

-       Leadership Rowan – Rowan County Chamber of Commerce

-       Emory University Cross Country Team week

-       Shalem Center Mini Retreat

-       Highland Christian Church Training

-       Cristo Del Rey Church Retreat

-       Henderson Oil Company Staff Day

-       The Timothy Project retreats

-       NC Synod Council

-       Arden 7th Day Adventist Family Day

-       First United Methodist Church Rutherfordton, NC

-       St John’s Episcopal Church Women’s Retreat, Charlotte NC

-       NC Synod Professional Leaders Conference

-       New Jerusalem Lutheran Church, Hickory NC

-       McGowen Teacher’s Workshop

-       Pinewood Preparatory School Youth Retreat

-       Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Nashville TN

-       Mt Horeb Lutheran Church, Chapin SC

-       Home Dec Gal Sewing and Upholstery Retreat

-       Fuquay Varina Presbyterian Church Joy Seekers retreat

-       Life Line Health Screening

-       Healing Touch Program

-       Grace Lutheran Church, Thomasville, GA

-       New Day Christian Community Church retreat

-       Couples for Christ

-       Southeastern Synod Professional Leaders conference (GA, TN, MS, AL)

-       Community in Christ Lutheran Church, Cornelius NC

-       Summerville SC High School Band week

-       St John’s Lutheran Church, Pomaria SC

-       Annual Southeastern Harp Conference

-       Lutherdale Senior Citizens Excursion – WI

-       SC Synod Professional Leaders Conference

-       Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of NC

-       Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Asheville NC

-       Awakening Soul National Conference

-       St Peters Lutheran Church Elementary Youth Retreat

-       NC Candidacy Retreat

-       Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Professionals National Conference

-       Grace Lutheran Church Confirmation Retreat, Hendersonville NC

-       Berkey Family Thanksgiving

-       Earth Fare Leadership Summit

-       St John Lutheran Church, Abingdon VA

-       Under One Sky Village Foundation

-       Boy Scout Troop 61 Court of Honor

-       Kretschmer Family Christmas

 

SECTION 4.00   Camp Lutheridge Ecological Characteristics

 

4.01  Biotic Characteristics: Vegetation Community Types

 

A.  Upland Forests

 

The dominant vegetative cover and community type found at Camp Lutheridge is a mixed coniferous – oak xeric hardwoods forest.  This community type represents > 85% of the aerial cover.  It forms a closed canopy except for scattered openings affiliated with buildings or roads. 

 

Forested edges support a wide variety of native shrubs of the genera:  Rhododendron (Laurel), Smilax (Greenbriar), Sambucus (Elderberry), and Rhus (Sumac).

 

The Quiet Way Trail bisects and runs diagonally from northwest to southeast from the Whisnant Chapel to the Upper Laurel Drive. The hardwood forest of this vicinity area is the most mature with regard to size and age of the canopy trees.

 

Table 1 (below) lists the dominant and subdominant trees of the mixed forest. Oak species represent > 50% of the dominant tress.  White pine and various oak species typically have a DBH (diameter at breast height) range of 12” – 30”.  A Chestnut Oak was cut down during the current year at the walkway entrance to the chapel.  It had a DBH of about 33” and a county of the well defined annual rings indicated it was at least 160 years old.

 

 

TABLE 1.  List of Vascular Plants Found in Camp Lutheridge Natural Area.

            _______________________________________________________

 

                                                            CONIFEROUS TREES (Gymnosperms)

           

Pinus strobus  ................ White Pine: Canopy Dominant

Pinus virginiana  ..............Virginia Pine: Widely Scattered Inclusion

 

                                                            DECIDOUS TREES (Angiosperms)

 

Acer rubrum.................... Red Maple: Subcanopy Subdominant

Cercis Canadensis......... Redbud: Understory subdominant

Cornus florida.................. Flowering Dogwood: Understory subdominant

Ilex opaca........................ American Holly: Understory subdominant

Liriodendron tulipifera..... Tulip Tree: Infrequent pioneer tree

Oxydodendron arboreum. Sourwood: Infrequent in understory

Sassafras albidum ........... Wild Sassafras: Infrequent in understory

Quercus alba.................... White Oak: Canopy dominant

Quercus prinus................. Chestnut Oak: Canopy dominant

Quercus rubra.................. Red Oak: Infrequent in canopy

Quercus marilandrica........            Black Jack Oak: Subdominant in canopy

 

____________________________________________________

 

 

B.  Upland Open Meadow

 

A mowed four acre upland meadow occurs in the northeast corner of the campus.  It is dominated by upland grass species of Poa (Meadow Grasses)and Festuca (Fescues).

 

It should be noted that this open meadow is the largest tract of land available for camp activities such as soccer, kickball, Frisbee, and other outdoor team games.  It also used for prayer circles and evening vespers, as it can support up to 250 campers.  

 

C.  Springs and Wetland Wetmeadow Swale

 

A series of springs form midway down the Quiet Way trail and eventually form an ephemeral stream.  This waterbody emerges at the edge of the woods and upland meadow cited above. It bisects the open meadow, forming an intermittent stream.  The waterbody has probably been disturbed in the building of a culvert under US 25 and installation of a sanitary sewer line in the 1950’s.  Today, the waterbody is swale like in nature and is periodically maintained with a weed eater.  The herbaceous vegetation consists of assorted wetland grasses, rushes, or sedges and represents a wet meadow.

 

 

4.02    Biotic Characteristics: Significant Animal Species: Brown Bat

 

It is noteworthy that a large population of the Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus), is supported by the campus arts and crafts building.  It has an open roofed pavilion.  At the interface between the inner roof and building attic, this bat species roosts and has maternal colonies. Several adjoining bat houses are also used.  The bat niches are located approximately 1,500’ of the proposed Duke Energy power line.

 

Because they are nocturnal use the entire campus for feeding on insects, and use a unique sonar echolocation mechanism, high voltage transmission lines will negatively impact their feeding and flight patterns in several ways.  These include electrocution and interference of their echolocation mechanism from sound generated by the power lines and an ionic sphere of influence.

 

Finally, this bat population is disjunct and isolated from others in the western North Carolina Mountain Region.  It appears to be healthy and not infected with the white nose fungal disease which is lethal to all bat species of our region.  Thus, every effort should be made to protect its roosting and breeding niches and feeding niches affiliated with the Camp Lutheridge campus.

 

4.03    Abiotic Characteristics: Topography and Slope Conditions

 

Camp Lutheridge is located in the Blue Ridge Province physiographic of the western North Carolina Appalachian Mountain System. The slope conditions for Camp Lutheridge range between 6% - 14%.  Because of the mixed sandy clay loams of the site and these existing slope conditions, the soils are considered to be erosion sensitive.

   

The subject area of the Camp Lutheridge campus where the Duke Energy electrical transmission line is proposed occurs as a northeast to southwest strip of land. The sketch map Duke Energy has provided to the public for comment indicates a line which crosses Airport Road and which enters the Lutheridge campus in the vicinity of the Whisnant Chapel.  It is significant to note that about 150’ beyond the chapel to the north is the new 60’ high water tower which the City of Asheville built in 2014.  It would also be impacted by the proposed electric transmission line. The proposed line then runs diagonally to Hendersonville Road (US 25) in the northeast corner of the Trinity View Retirement Center.

 

For this area, the following agency resource information is available:

USGS Map:  Skyland, NC Quadrangle. This map clearly indicates the Camp Lutheridge Chapel area and campus cluster of building to the south. The following coordinates and the elevation are given for the chapel as follows:

 

Latitude = N35.45623 and Longitude = W82.51623 degrees respectively.  The elevation for the chapel is given as 2,454’ above sea level datum.

 

The following coordinates and the elevation are given for the campus cluster (Efird Hall and office vicinity area) is as follows:

 

Latitude = N35.45456 and Longitude = W82.51790 degrees respectively.  The elevation for the cluster of campus buildings is given as 2,404’ above sea level datum.

 

SECTION 5.00    Duke Power Electrical Line Impacts

 

5.01  Subject Area for the Proposed Duke Energy Electrical Transmission Line

 

Depending on the actual location of the power line, it appears the following infrastructure of buildings, roads, trails, and ecological communities, as listed in Table 2 below, will be severely, completely, or directly impacted by the proposed power line locations.

 

 

TABLE 2.  Annotated List of Natural and Anthropogenic Features that Would be Severely Impacted by the Proposed Power Line in the Subject Area.

 

1) City of Asheville Water Tower

 

This water tower is adjacent to Whisnant Chapel, representing the highest elevation in Arden, NC.  It serves all of the relatively new shopping malls and businesses located on Airport Road. An electrical generating pump station is located near the Camp Lutheridge entrance. Its digital computers allows for constant full capacity of the water supply to the water tower.

 

2)  Whisnant Chapel

 

This is an open-air roofed building where many religious services are held at various times during the week, including Sunday Services, baptisms, vespers, marriages, and prayer – hymn – communion activities. Inside there is an altar, pew benches and chairs, baptismal font, crucifix, and hymnal racks.  

 

3) Outdoor Crematory Depository on Sacred Ground

 

This area consists of: a) two stone walls that can be used for sitting purposes, b) a stone built cross approximately six feet tall and c) surrounding grounds on which cremation remains of the deceased were scattered by family, relatives, and friends. In order to build this facility, the cremated body ashes and stones (used to build the walls and cross) were carried, in solemn procession, up the ridge from the campus cluster below.  The carrying of the rocks is biblically based on the theme that our God is our rock and foundation from the Book of Psalms.

  

Quiet Way Trail

 

This the major trail used by campers and adult guests for a quiet and serene nature experience and communication with God’s Creation.

 

Maintenance Building

 

This a major facility in which all maintenance equipment and housekeeping supplies are kept, including an area for mowers, tractors, and all service vehicles which need periodic service such as lube and oil changes.The back and side yards are also used for storage of materials such as lumber, firewood, rock, etc.

 

Upper Laurel Drive

 

This is the major entranceway in to the Camp Lutheridge campus; the proposed power line would have to cross it in the northern campus vicinity.

 

Lower Laurel Drive

 

If the proposed power line is in the area of the pool complex, it would have to cross this drive.

 

Two Staff Residence Homes 

 

These two residences are located opposite each other near the intersection of Upper and Lower Laurel Drives.

 

Water Park/Pool Facility

 

This is a new 2 million dollar facility that was dedicated in 2015.  It replaced a swimming pool facility that was degraded near the Campus Cluster of Buildings.  The facility includes Bischoff Lodge and six year round cabins.

 

Upland Meadow Group Activity Area

 

This four acre area is the only large open space area that can be used for outdoor activities that require large amounts of open space for 200 or more campers, such as religious gatherings, soccer, Frisbee, etc.

 

Several other infrastructure items are located in this area: sanitary sewer manhole, culvert under US25, and water pumping station.

 

Trinity View Retirement Center Campus (fka Crescent View)

 

This North Carolina Synod Lutheran Services in America campus of the ELCA is on land leased to Trinity View by the subject ministry.  It is a retirement center with independent and assisted living which can house and care for about 200 residents, including handicapped impaired.  Outside of the buildings are parking lots, gardens, quiet areas, and a trail so as to allow residents to enjoy the outdoors.

_______________________________________________________

 

 

5.02 GPS Mapping of Subject Area

 

In order to have exact locations for the items listed in Table 2 above, GPS mapping was conducted in the field.  The germane natural and anthropogenic features that would be severely and negatively impacted by the proposed Duke Energy megavolt electrical transmission lines were GPS mapped by the ecologist and Mr. Tim Owen of NOAA’s Climate Data Center.  A hand held Garmin GPS mapping instrument was used. All Way Points were flagged and numbered, using orange surveyors tape.

 

A list of the GPS mapped way point locations (latitude and longitude coordinates), and elevation data are given in Table 3 (below).

 

 

TABLE 3.  A list of the GPS Mapped Way Point Locations (Latitude and Longitude Coordinates), and Elevation Data for all Germane Cultural and Natural Features.

 

 

 

Name                         Location #     Latitude  __   Longitude _              Elevation

 

Water Tower Fence             1          N35.27.399   W82.30.977              2,446’

 

Chapel NE Corner              2          N35.27.391  W82.30.976              2,460’

 

Chestnut Stump                  3          N35.27.375  W82.31.001              2,475’

 

Crematory Cross                 4         N35.27.350  W82.32..017             2,445’

 

Quiet Way Sign                    5          N35.27.306  W82.30.195              2,313’

 

Pool: Tree Flag                    6          N35.27.300  W82.30.845               2,354’

 

Pool: NW Corner                 7          N35.27.288  W82.30.850               2,340’

 

Pool: NE Corner                  8          N35.27.295  W82.30.843               2,317’

 

Meadow Area Tree              9          N35.27.447  W82.30.717               2,300’

 

Meadow Area Sewer           10       N35.27.468  W82.30.756               2,300’

 

Meadow Area Culvert          11      N35.27.463  W82.30.692               2,277’

 

Meadow Area Pump           12      N35.27.445  W82.30.714               2,295’

 

Note:  The drop in elevation from the Chapel to the Culvert is 353’ over a distance of 1,472’ which is an overall slope > 20%.

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SECTION 6.00     Duke Power Electrical Line Impacts

 

6.01 Aesthetics

 

The scenic and natural beauty of Camp Lutheridge would be severely compromised by the presence of electrical power transmission lines, including areas outside and adjacent to the proposed power lines.

 

Almost immediately, upon entering the Camp Lutheridge campus, the power lines would be visible. In addition the areas of impacts would bisect and segment the natural areas dominated by the upland hardwoods forest as described in sections above.  Maintenance roads that Duke Energy would construct and tall tree removal in the adjoining immediate area of the power lines would magnify the segmentation of all natural areas.  Such areas could no longer be used for camp programs.

 

 

 

 

6.02  Camp Programs

 

The subject area for the proposed power lines would render all outdoor areas unsuitable for recreational purposes, religious and spiritual reflection, including services, and outdoor ecological and environmental education activities. 

 

6.03  Tourism Dollar Impact

 

It is estimated that about 10,000 adult people per year use the Camp Lutheridge residence facilities for an average stay of three days or more.  In addition parents who bring an average of 5,000 children to camp each year and stay in the Asheville area for a weekend or one week vacation.  The Asheville Chamber of Commerce: Division of Tourism has calculated that the average visitor spends $207 per day.  Thus, the 45,000 daily equivalency generates over 9 million dollars in revenue.  It is estimated conservatively that Camp Lutheridge would lose 40% - 50% of the 45,000 annual participants due to loss of facilities or the visible presence of power lines.  Thus, there is a potential loss of 4 – 5 million dollars that Camp Lutheridge generates in one year.

 

6.04    Loss of Staff Impacts

 

With a loss of campers, professional and support staff would have to be cut by 33% or more.  Currently, there are 150 employees, including summer staff of 120 individuals.  With an average annual salary of $20,000 per year, this would equate to an additional annual loss of $990,000.

 

6.05    Loss of Buildings and Pool Facility

 

As noted above, four buildings could be impacted by the subject area of the proposed power line.  The current cost of replacement is estimated to be an average of about $300,000.  Thus, 1.2 million dollars would be needed to replace them.  In addition, the pool facility dedicated in 2015, has a cost value of 2 million dollars.  Thus, the total dollar value loss would probably exceed 3.2 million dollars. 

 

6.06    Summary Statement

 

Based on the above findings, the following conclusions can be made.

 

1)    There would be a significant loss of natural wooded areas due to segmentation of the forest community.

 

2)     Affiliated with the lost of forest community habitat, there would be loss of biodiversity associated with wildlife.

3)    Affiliated with loss of the forest community and presence of a power line, religious and spiritual programs and activities would no longer be viable and there is no mitigation areas on the Camp Lutheridge campus to replace them.

 

4)    There would be a loss of four existing buildings and the water park-pool complex.  Thus, the total dollar value loss would probably exceed 3.2 million dollars. 

 

5)    There would be a potential loss of 4 – 5 million dollars that adult guests and camper parents generate in one year in the Asheville area vicinity due to the fact that approximately 1/2 of the annual 45,000 guest nights would no longer use Camp Lutheridge.

 

Based on the above findings of this preliminary Level I Environmental Assessment documented above, it should be readily apparent to Duke Energy’s environmental and planning staff that to place the proposed mega kilovolt electrical transmission line through any part of the Camp Lutheridge campus is not an environmentally viable alternative.

           

 

SECTION 7.00    Appendices and Exhibits

 

7.01 Appendix I – Exhibits

 

Exhibit 1.    Base Line Map Indicating Subject Area of Duke Proposed Electrical Transmission Line.

 

Exhibit 2.    Assorted Camp Lutheridge Outdoor Ministry Brochures

 

7.02  Appendix II – Power Point Presentation