Issue 3: December 2001



Telling Tales

Coming to Jonesborough, Ten-nessee during the National Storytelling Festival is like coming home. Even if you’ve never been to Tennessee, even if you don’t know one of the 11,000 spellbound story listeners, even if you never heard of either a “haint” or a “yenta.” When you sit here in a tent that’s slowly being covered […]


Acid Rain, Other Stressors, Wreaking Havoc In Mtns

Travel to the upper elevations of the Appalachian Mountains, and you’ll find forests that have suffered serious damage. Fraser firs and spruce stand like skeletons against the skyline. Northern hardwoods — beech, maple, birch — look as if winter has descended, even in the spring. What has caused this widespread devastation? Some blame insects like […]


VA’s Old Growth Falls Under Forest Service Axe

While many National Forests in the Southeast are enjoying some reprieve from logging after successful forest-protection lawsuits, Virginia’s George Washington and Jefferson continue to be pummeled with increasing numbers of timber sale proposals. Old Dominion conservationists are particularly concerned at a growing trend among Forest Service timber sales targeting older-aged trees. They say many of […]


Building a Ginseng Business In Harmony With Nature

The healing power of the woods, which is perhaps their deepest level of beauty, might be said to reside in ginseng. The roots of this shadowy perennial have been so valued as a source of pure wellness that at times they’ve been worth their weight in gold. Even today, properly dried wild ginseng roots […]


Celt Explorers in West Virginia's Coalfields?

Just south of Oceana, in Wyoming County, West Virginia, there is a little white historical marker that makes a bold claim: Celtic explorers had journeyed west from Ireland and were here, nearly a thousand years before Columbus, Cabot and DeSoto. You expect these little signs to have some cute anecdote about the first settler in […]


Bark Camp Timber Sale Put On Hold

After four years of struggle, the Clinch Coalition has won a major victory by forcing the U.S. Forest Service to put a hold on a large timber sale in southwest Virginia. With intervention from Congressman Rick Boucher, the Bark Camp Timber Sale will not go forward until a study of the effects of additional logging […]


New Survey: Northern Hardwoods Dying in WV, PA

The northern hardwood forests of the Allegheny and Monongahela National Forests and surrounding private lands are dying in record numbers, according to a recent air survey of the region. The survey, conducted by two environmental groups, show that tens of thousands of acres of sugar maples, yellow birch, beech, black cherry, red oaks and […]


Magnolias and Firs: The John Fraser Connection

Range maps of firs and magnolias generally show the trees to be located hundreds of miles apart. The flowering magnolia is popularly associated with the balmy South; the fir- a conifer- with the frigid North. Yet, as is true of so many other plants, the unique geography of the Southern Appalachians has brought two species […]


Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Consider the plight of the crayfish crossing the road. It lumbers along, waving tiny pincers threateningly as your shadow falls across it. You stoop and grasp the cool, damp carapace between thumb and index finger. It twists, squirms, tries to fend you off. You deposit it gently in the ditch it seemed to be […]