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Summer camps oppose asphalt plant

Summer camps in Saluda, Flat Rock, Green River and across Henderson County are expressing their opposition to an asphalt plant in East Flat Rock, saying it could emit pollution that would harm the businesses, reduce revenues and cost jobs.


For generations, summer camps have been a tradition in the lives of thousands of children.

More than 70 camps in four counties of Western North Carolina represents the largest concentration of summer camps in the United States. Twelve of these camps are in close proximity to the proposed Southeastern Asphalt plant  on Spartanburg Highway at the U.S. 25 connector, the North Carolina Youth Camp Association said.
In 2010, the camp association retained N.C. State University to conduct an economic impact study of the camps in Henderson, Transylvania, Buncombe and Jackson counties. The total economic impact from residential summer camps in these counties and their operations was approximately $365 million, with more than 10,000 full-time equivalent jobs created beyond camp staff, and nearly $33 million in new tax revenues. The total economic impact on Henderson County from 17 residential summer camps and their operations was approximately $120 million, with 3,411 fulltime equivalent jobs created beyond camp staff, and nearly $10 million in tax revenue. A new economic impact study by NC State was conducted in 2019 with higher revenues. The results of this study will be available later this year.
Risk management and safety are top priorities in the camp industry, the association said. The assurance given to parents by these camps builds trust and value in their family relationships.

Here is the rest of the camp industry's statement:

"The environmental pollutants that arise from an asphalt plant like this could cause harm to these businesses and reduce the revenues for the camps and the county as well as loss of jobs. Asphalt plants produce severe toxic air pollutants including arsenic, benzene formaldehyde and cadmium. Cancer, central nervous system problems, liver damage, and a myriad of respiratory health issues are known results of these toxins. The nearby Green River offers many summer camps activities such as fishing, hiking, paddling, biking, and camping. The Green River is also one of the most famous and scenic paddling rivers in the USA. Harm to this river and the surrounding Game Lands through asphalt plant pollutants could be detrimental to the revenues of Henderson County tourism, summer camps, and residing families.
"On behalf of the Western North Carolina Youth Camp Association, our concerns are great. The promises our community makes to camp families are bound with the trust they have in us. What guarantees does the asphalt plant have that the use of the plant will not adversely affect the health and safety of these camps and those living in the camp communities? What guarantees does the asphalt plant have that the use of the plant will not be detrimental to public welfare? What guarantees does the asphalt plant have that the use of the plant will not be injurious to property or public improvement? Camper parents are depending on your word."

The statement was submitted by Missy Schenck and Nancy Wilson. Missy Izard Schenck and her husband, Sandy, who live in Flat Rock and operate the Green River Preserve summer camp in the Green River Valley.
Nancy Z. Wilson and her husband, Jim Bob, own and operate Camp Wayfarer in Flat Rock.

Also supporting the statement were Camp Glen Arden, Camp Greystone, Camp Mondamin and Green Cove,  Camp Pinnacle and Adventure Treks Camp, Rockbrook, Camp Ton-A-Wandah, Falling Creek Camp and Gwynn Valley Camp.