Issue 1: March 2002



From Appalachia To Africa, Big Tom Emerges A Survivor

Picture this: you have been se-lected to participate in the CBS reality television game show called “Survivor: Africa.” You and 15 other contestants will be forced to endure upwards of 39 days in the desert of the Shaba National Reserve in Kenya. You are allowed to take only two luxury items with you. What do […]


Sticky Fingers

Labor Day was established by Congress in 1894 as the United States’ official celebration of work. It is observed on the first Monday in September. How strange. In the most bizarre of paradoxes, this tribute to toil brings the industrial output of an entire nation to a grinding halt. Factories, stores, schools, and banks close. […]


Green Groups: USFWS Ignoring Plight Of Warbler

A coalition of 28 national, regional and local conservation organizations notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in February that the agency has violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to respond appropriately to the coalition’s petition to list the Cerulean Warbler as a threatened species. The groups, including Appalachian Voices and the National […]


WVa. National Wildlife Refuge Losing Its Core Habitat

There just aren’t as many islands on the Ohio River as there used to be, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials say. That’s one of the reasons the USFWS founded the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge in 1990, to preserve floodplain habitat for many species of animals and plants, several species of which are endangered […]


Slave Life Tour Unveiled At Smithfield Plantation

Many people know the story of Mary Draper Ingles’ harrowing escape from Shawnee captors and her heroic 800-mile trek from the Ohio river back to her home in present-day Radford, Va. Her story has been immortalized in novels, films and an outdoor drama performed annually in Radford. But it took 150 years for anyone […]


Maple Sugar Production Here Rivaled New England’s

Sugar Mountain. Sugar Grove. Sugar Hollow. Sugar Knob. The word “sugar” appears on maps of almost every region within the southern mountains. A bit of our pioneer past is evoked every time these place-names are spoken, and the names themselves reveal the natural history of those particular locations. “Sugar” refers to the sweetener made from […]


Fishers: With Help From Man, These Predators Repatriate Tennessee

Fisher: Size 30×12 in., tail 12-18 in. long, the largest of the martens; has a dark shaded deep underwool with fine, glossy, dark and strong top hair 2 in. or more long. . . . The tails are almost black and make up most handsomely into trimmings, muffs, etc. Tails worked separately in these […]


Northshore Road Would Destroy Smokies Backcountry

If someone were to tell you that the largest mountain roadless area east of the Mississippi River was in danger of being bisected by a road which would essentially go nowhere and serve no purpose, what would your reaction be? The Northshore Road, also known as the “Road to Nowhere,” is back on the playing […]


Uplift, Erosion, Uplift, Erosion: A Compressed History Of Appalachia

Most Appalachian residents will tell you their mountains are unique, but most probably don’t understand just how special they really are. It isn’t the highest mountain range in the world, by any means, but it once was. What is most remarkable about the chain is its incredible age, about 300 million years. It’s possibly […]


Cherokee Scheme To Develop Smokies Tract Challenged

A proposal by the Eastern Band of Cherokees to trade high-elevation land off the Blue Ridge Parkway for some bottomland in Great Smoky Mountains National Park brought out strong opinions, pro and con, at an Asheville public hearing in February. The Eastern Band wants to swap a 218-acre parcel near Waterrock Knob in Jackson County, […]


Big Timber Influenced USDA Southern Forest Study

As the official public comment period closed last week for the Southern Forest Resource Assessment, new information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act documents that timber industry representatives had inside influence as official peer reviewers of the study prior to its public release. Several of these timber giants harvest trees in Virginia, including Westvaco, […]


Uncrowded Fishing Fit for a Duke

Any trout fisherman who’s spent time on the water in the Southern Appalachians knows that our sport is skyrocketing in popularity. Ironically, the very qualities that draw anglers to mountain streams in record numbers — natural beauty, healthy fish populations, and the opportunity for solitude — are becoming harder to come by with every new […]


Climate Change Will Put Heat On Mountain Habitats

Two new scientific reports on global climate change paint a disturbing picture of the future for aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the Southern Appalachians. The reports — “Aquatic Ecosystems and Global Climate Change” from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and “Habitats At Risk: Global Warming and Species Loss in Terrestrial Ecosystems” from the […]