Bob Plott lives with his wife and son on four acres of land that adjoin 500 acres of wilderness in North Carolina's rural southwestern Iredell county.
Few families can claim to have deeper roots than those of the Plott family in the Southern Appalachians. Author, conservationist and wood carver Bob Plott still raises Plott hounds, which were first brought to the area by his great, great, great grandfather in 1750.
A life in the Smokies
Time in the woods has been a way of life for Bob Plott since he was a child.
“My generation was different than today in that we literally stayed in the woods or outdoors from dawn to dark,” he says. “My mother would feed us breakfast and we might come back in for lunch, and definitely dinner, but otherwise we were outside exploring the woods or playing ball.”
After college, Bob started a career, but like many people, he found it to be a mixture of gratification, disappointment and stress.
“But through it all I found the wilderness to be a sanctuary for me,” Bob says. “It was and is a place where I could find solace and, as the late Taylor Crockett once described it, ‘A place to get better, to heal and escape from all the problems in the city.’”
An old man once told me, ‘They ain’t making any more land, son. When it’s gone, it’s gone for good, and you can’t get it back.'
Now an author of four award-winning books about Plott hounds and southern culture, Bob still spends as much time in the Southern Appalachians as he can.
“Great Smoky Mountains National Park is special to me since it was the first national park I had ever visited and because it was so easily accessible,” he explains. His uncle’s farm was adjacent to the park, so he regularly spent time in it from an early age.
Wilderness is invaluable
Bob says wilderness means everything to him. “It provides a place for me to go alone when I need to think and seek solace or healing. And it provides a place for me to take family and friends and enjoy their company and the magnificent surroundings at little or no cost. You can’t put a dollar value on something like this –- it is literally priceless,” he adds.
“An old man once told me, ‘They ain’t making any more land, son. When it’s gone, it’s gone for good, and you can’t get it back’,” he recalls. “He was absolutely right. At a time when we have more people, more development and, ironically, more wildlife than ever before in modern history –- we unfortunately have less wilderness and natural habitat than ever before. In my opinion this is a recipe for disaster if we allow this to continue.”
This is why Bob is an advocate for The Wilderness Society and rarely turns down any conservation group that asks for his help.
“It is imperative that we not only maintain and retain our current parks and wild lands,” Bob says, “but we also need to work diligently to obtain more private lands before they are lost forever.”
You can help protect wilderness. With a small donation, you can become a WIlderness Society member.