16th March 2013
Meet Eustace Conway, 51, the owner of Turtle Camp near Boone, North Carolina. He’s a back-to-the-land guy who bathes in a creek, grows his own food, and welcomes others to learn some survival skills at his place (which he runs as an educational nonprofit) for a small fee.
In other words, he’s out from under the Crust.
A team of health, construction and fire officials showed up for an unannounced inspection of the preserve, acting on an anonymous tip. Escorted by two sheriffs’ deputies, they executed what Mr. Conway describes as a “SWAT-team raid”—peering into outhouses, stomping around log cabins, and climbing hand-hewn ladders.
Their findings are compiled in a 78-page report with a bullet-point list of violations. Mr. Conway’s sawdust urinal and outhouses? Unpermitted, according to the officials. The wood he used to erect two dozen buildings? Built with lumber that isn’t “grade-marked,” meaning it doesn’t specify the mill where it was produced.
The open-air kitchen, with its crates of potatoes and stacks of pots? “Not protected from insects and animals,” according to the report. “It is, in fact, outdoors.”
Which is, in fact, the point.
When I was a kid, this was a free country. Say what you will about the ’50s, we never had to put up with this kind of shit.