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History Channel's North Carolina Mountain Man Fights Gov't for Control of His Property


“My gosh. This is the country that I pledge allegiance to?”

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Eustace Conway. (Screen grab).

After graduating from Appalachian State University more than two decades ago, Eustace Conway decided to take a crack at Henry Thoreau’s philosophy of getting back to nature --  that is, of living “deliberately.”

“I live in a much different way and I’m glad for it,” Conway told Fox 8 WGHP-TV.

He purchased some land outside Boone, N.C., built up his property, and has been using his “nature school” to teach hundreds of people how to live closer to nature ever since.

His lifestyle became so notorious, in fact, that he has been featured on The History Channel's "Mountain Men":

But in 2012, citing safety regulations, county officials decided they need to shut down the noted naturalist's school.

“Basically, I’m living like the American heritage pattern of all of our ancestors and the modern world isn’t. They don’t know how to accept me,” Conway said.

The county issued Conway a cease and desist order, saying his property wasn’t up to code.

“This is supposed to be the land of the free,” he said, “government is supposed to help people [and] protect their individual liberties and freedom. That’s not what’s happening here.”

“My gosh,” he added, “This is the country that I pledge allegiance to?”

The county argues that it is only doing its duty protecting public health and safety, the Fox affiliate notes, and says his “nature school” can continue – but only after it meets the county’s standards.

Problem is, to meet said standards, Conway’s "nature school" would cease to be, well, natural. Also, the county’s demands are a little strange considering that after all this time (26 years) and several inspections, it has suddenly decided his property is a hazard.

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Conway believes the county is merely looking to shut him down and he doesn’t think he has much of a chance in this fight.

“I’m not confident I can win [this],” he said. “I’m confident I ought to win it. I’m confident it shouldn’t be happening. But at this point, basically, what the government told me today is, ‘You can’t operate.’”

Watch the WGHP-TV investigative report:

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

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