My folks used to take us to a pristine stretch of the Florida Panhandle west of Panama City. Back then you traveled through pine barrens on two lane blacktop and strips of red clay to get to some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. Squeaky white quartz sand, partially comprised of the remnants of North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains, still line those beaches.

Of course, the Panhandle has seen it’s share of development with condos and hotels also lining the Gulf from Pensacola to Panama City. Tourism has brought its own style of blight and traffic jams are commonplace when the snowbirds come down to roost. For all that, that magnificent part of the Gulf lures us down at least once a year.

I’ve been talking to my parents who live just east of Destin and it sounds like “all hands on deck” as the coastal communities brace for the slick.

For folks that haven’t visited the Gulf the whole mess might seem a bit abstract.

Luckily the site If It Was My Home has collected some resources to help visualize what the mess would look like in our own neck of the woods.

Centered on Chapel Hill, the current BP mess (their 3rd major disaster in less than 5 years) stretches from Roanoke Rapids nearly to Asheville.

Not so abstract when put in those terms is it?

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