/* Progress Energy*/ plans to run a major power line 64 miles from Rockingham to Fort Bragg. Its proposed path cuts through the heart of prime farmland owned by the Gillis family.
"We don't like destroying beautiful woods and things we worked for all our lives and it's just disgusting," property owner John Gillis said.
A survey crew from Apex already cut a path nearly 50 yards into the woods on the Gillis property.
Gillis' son, William, said the family did not know the survey crew was going to cut the path. The crew entered the Gillis property from the back, through a neighbor's property.
"They said they were coming to mark the center line but they would not clear any land," John said. "But when we got out here this large machine was going down through the woods and we just stopped them."
According to a letter sent by Progress Energy to property owners in March, the company says, "in wooded areas, it is necessary to clear a path six to eight feet wide for the operation of survey instruments."
The path on the Gillis property is almost three times that size.
"Trying to run a 20-foot swath through this pretty, fragile land will go soon into some wetlands here," property owner Kathryn Miller said. "There's very little of this left here in Cumberland County."
Progress Energy says the path is the first step to determine the best route for the power line and cutting the path is necessary.