Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Sam Crawford, October 26, 1985. Interview K-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Aftermath of the Cane Creek Conservation Authority

Crawford briefly reflects on the aftermath of the CCCA's efforts to prevent OWASA from building the dam. Although they failed at that effort, Crawford suggests that the energy of the grassroots movement later percolated in opposing the building of an airport near Chapel Hill. Here, he argues that the CCCA never actually became an institution, which is one reason they had difficulty in opposing OWASA.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Sam Crawford, October 26, 1985. Interview K-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JUDITH WHEELER:
You mentioned something about an airport that was planned, did the Authority help fight that?
SAM CRAWFORD:
Well I think it was one of those things like I was just saying; that residual political response. CCCA as an entity did not say … It is hard to define CCCA as an entity; it was more of an idea to which a lot of people adhere to more that it is an institution to which a lot of people have allegiance. But I think that in having that, the people who had gained experience and momentum from working on Cane Creek, quickly organized around opposition with the airport and quickly made their experiences available to people who were involved with this issue but weren't involved with that issue. By making that experience available to them, thus short cutting a great deal of what they would have had to do and making the response a great deal more successful than it would have been fifteen years ago. So in that sense, I think we responded as an idea, and as a historical concept, not so much as an institution. I don't think CCCA has ever really been an institution. I think that has been in some ways its downfall, because unlike OWASA we aren't an institution, to the degree we can force levies and things like that on the county. Not, I also think it has been its major strength, in the sense it has that kinda populace magnetism and power, that wouldn't ordinarily … [Interruption with Flinn] So yeah, I think that is the thing in terms of the airport that was the deciding factor in terms of our input to that. During this period also, and you would really have to talk to Patty more about this than me, cause she was the Chairman of the County Planning Commission. There was an implementation of all these zoning and subdivisional stuff in this township. I think because issues and ideas that had come out of Cane Creek, it [the Zoning] went in a good deal more sensibly and the people had a lot more to say about it, and had a lot more impact on the final presentation of that. It became more of a document that they felt not only created but could live with. Because zoning is a tricky issue… it is a real tricky issue. I think because of what we had experienced - that was something that was a positive, for the most part, rather than a negative to them. I don't know how closely you follow the local paper, but in Cheeks Township, which is near Efland, there is still a major battle over zoning regulations and that kinda thing, which doesn't occur here. What we did, I think here, was we felt like we developed a compromise plan that was livable and also offered us some protection in exchange for some levy of freedom; I don't know, that sounds real highfalutin. I mean, some possibilities of what we could do, which made a difference.