From Mike McCommons:
First, I want to thank every one of you for supporting the project I began. I did not do this because I had to, but because I fell in love with the property, the area, and the people. I have enjoyed meeting many of the guests and my time on this mountain as well. It is unfortunate that it came to this, but I wanted to give a brief explanation of what has happened over the past two years.
A former friend, Dan Northington, from my area invited me here along with Mark Rogers from the television show “Moonshiners.” I fell in love with the property and was introduced to the land owned by Tom Thrash. Tom wanted to see the property maintained and utilized for recreation and the enjoyment of others. With all my experience from Durhamtown in Georgia, I saw a way to make this happen and enjoy it myself. Dan Northington wanted to capitalize off of my connections to sell real estate and make large profits from the land he had bought during the recession from struggling land owners. My “connections” were not interested in his land, they only wanted to come and enjoy Durhamtown Tellico. He became jealous and began an attack on me by calling the different government organizations claiming false accusations. Thus, they began their investigations. I have met all of their requests over the past 8 months and was ready to move forward with more marketing for Durhamtown Tellico. He also brokered some timber sales below Tellico and the loggers created a massive amount of soil disturbances and muddied the Little Snowbird stream. Several other timber sales created even more sediments over the past 4 months causing a lot more problems. Dan rallied all of his friends with property downstream (mostly Floridians with vacations houses) to generate excessive calls to the different government agencies. This relaunched a new investigation with one of them connected to one of the agencies. Dan and his rally group continued to point their fingers at Durhamtown Tellico visitors as the source of all the sediments, not the logging jobs of over 300 acres or raw soils. I fought for 3 months proving where the problem was coming from --- not the riding but negligent logging practices. Two of the government agencies agreed with me and we established a simple compromise and Durhamtown Tellico remained open. However, The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources continued the attack by claiming that the logging on Tom Thrash’s property was solely for the purpose of building ATV trails. This put the property into a commercial category with extreme demands. Just permitting the water to cross the trail or road for runoff or a seasonal wet stream cost averages $14,000 per permit. With over 20 crossings, the cost would exceed $250,000 and that is not including building them to their specs. Also, it would need a certified land disturbance permit for the entire 3000 acres, which would cost over $150,000. This is all because I would not buy their expensive land and I removed many of the 18 who were part of Dan’s rally group on Little Snowbird from my property when they were trespassing. Some became aggressive when I asked them to leave or pay to ride on my property. A lot of this has also come down on the loggers as well and he began confronting the 18 land owners along Little Snowbird and they commented, “we are sorry we just wanted to run Mike away from the property so we could have it back to trespass on.” The government agencies were prepared to begin to levy massive fines if we did not stop the riding. Therefore, we had to agree; however, we hope they will see once the riding stops the sediment will still continue to come from the logging sites.
We have contacted our legislators to help with this, and other political parties have also asked for information. Everyone is in favor of Durhamtown Tellico as an economy booster and a place for family fun. We do not plan to lie down and walk away so easily, but this will take time.
Dan Northington and his fellow followers are the reason for this as they have been spreading false accusations for over 12 months. If you would like to discuss this with him or purchase some of his land, his number is (706) 318-1509.
Thanks for your support,
They can be if rules and regulations are not followed