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Monday, December 11, 2023

The destruction of Marion County and its natural resources

To the Editor:

I’m a Florida native. I grew up in South Florida, thinking as a child I could never imagine leaving here. Broward County to be specific. I grew up in a little town called Davie. You could ride your horse anywhere and could actually pull up to McDonald’s or any one of the stores there because there was a corral to put your horse. Now I will never, ever return to South Florida because it has become a metropolis nightmare.

I see our county commissioners lining their pockets and not even considering for a minute what they’re doing to our environment, the animals, the trees, and the land. Our way of life in Marion County is being destroyed as quickly as a few county commissioners can fill their bank accounts. It seems to me that humanity across the board has taken a back seat to money and greed. So much for the Horse Capital of the World.

Seems like if you’re not a billionaire or a millionaire, you can’t do anything in this county. All of our tax dollars are not being put to good use. We have no infrastructure. I live on a dirt road that hasn’t been touched in over 6 months. Our schools absolutely suck here in Marion County. We don’t have enough law enforcement, paramedics, doctors, nurses, or any of the essentials to run a county. This toll road to nowhere that they’re considering, they want to run it right through our Greenway systems, which ultimately will destroy our ecotourism, leaving nothing left.

I live in southwest Marion County, near Dunnellon. They are putting houses up as fast as they can on quarter-acre lots, and putting wells and septic systems on a quarter-acre lot with their leach fields under their driveways. You tell me how that’s legal. Not to mention all the leach fields and all the septic systems leaking into what’s supposed to be our Rainbow Springs protection area. How is that legal?

When I first moved here onto my property 30 years ago, the highest temperature during the day was 83 to 85 degrees. Due to all the destruction of the trees, the average temperature around here during the summer is between 100 and 115 with the heat index. The people that bought the property next to me cleared out every single tree on the property. For those of us that rely on our ecotourism to make a living in Marion County, we cannot survive with temperatures like this. Nobody wants to be outside doing anything during the summer because it’s too hot.

As long as I’ve lived here, I’ve never had ticks on my property, and now I do because it requires possums to eat the ticks so that you don’t have a tick problem. I don’t understand why Marion County doesn’t put in sanctions to keep people from killing trees. They should have to clear out an area to put the house and leave the trees so we can maintain our way of life here.

As if we don’t have enough climate change going on, let’s just speed it up by killing more and more of our trees, which not to mention help us breathe and help keep things cool. Check out the fine example of all the flooding in Marion County over the last couple of years and it’s only going to get worse. It really bothers me when somebody says ‘oh my God, there’s a coyote, a bear, a panther in my yard.’ The truth of the matter is they’re all being forced out of their environments due to urban sprawl.

If you want to know my honest opinion, people are the only true virus on this planet. They’re the only ones that destroy everything they come into contact with. When I say this, I only refer to the people who are ignorant, self-centered, and greedy. Thanks to our county commissioners who don’t give a crap about anything else but themselves and their bank accounts.

Please stop the destruction of Marion County. This county belongs more to the animals and the trees than to the people.

Michelle Moore
Ocala resident