It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway — St. Simons Island, if left defenseless against developers, most whose sole tunnel vision goal consists of what they can build in the fastest time to extract the most money from as many people as possible, will soon be unrecognizable as the crown jewel she is here and around the world.

If our leaders are not in sync with the wishes and vision of their constituents and cannot, or will not, see that unfettered growth on this island will diminish her unique attractions, then maybe it’s time for leadership change.

The fact that in three years we haven’t come up with a viable revised tree ordinance is shameful. I’m not a tree-hugger by any means, but the exquisite beauty of our mature live oaks is one of the most important draws for people visiting and living here. When these trees are slowly but surely eliminated, that particular beauty is, for all intents and purposes, gone forever. It takes over 100 years to get that kind of awe-inspiring beauty back. We must be diligent and proactive to preserve the existing beauty of St. Simons.

Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder ...” Perhaps a violation of a tree ordinance does not deserve the death penalty, but surely much more than a mere misdemeanor — it has to have teeth for it to be effective.

Thomas Goodrich


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