Issue 3: November 2003

A Tennessee Fairy Tale

In the Elk Valley region of East Tennessee, coal companies are telling a tale of a new type of mountaintop strip-mining that they say will not destroy homes, rivers, mountains and economies (see story on p.12). This new mining technique is called cross-ridge mining and it differs only slightly from the highly controversial mountaintop removal […]

Is Your Dog a Trail Dog?

As the trail finally leveled off at the valley bottom, Kane trotted further in front of me, his swaying gait interrupted by ever more frequent investigations of sounds and smells. Finally, with his inner-wolf awakened – and unaware of the incongruity of being wolfish while wearing a bright red doggy pack – Kane dove into […]

Sassafras in America

While the Southern Appalachian Mountains abound in flora traditionally known for their medicinal properties, few equal the sassafras tree in its historical economic impact. The tree triggered a health craze in Europe upon its discovery in North America, when it gained a reputation for curing everything from wounds to rheumatism. Sassafras became a major commodity […]

Mountaintop Removal by any Other Name

Ask any Tennessean to sing the chorus of “Rocky Top,” an official state song and the fight song of the University of Tennessee, and you’re sure to hear a rousing refrain of “Rocky Top, you’ll always be home sweet home to me.” But in some parts of east Tennessee, residents and visitors who wish that […]

Carolina Business Owners Meet with Senator Dole's Staff to Promote Clean Air

On October 27, two North Carolina business owners, Renea Reed, owner of Snow Toys Ski and Snowboard Shop in Banner Elk, and Amy Vermillion, owner of the Dripolator Coffeehouse in Black Mountain, spoke to Senator Dole’s staff on behalf of the 350 North Carolina members of the Appalachian Voices Business League. They were asking the […]

The Ubiquitous Coyote

To paraphrase William Faulkner, the highly adaptable coyote has not just survived, it has prevailed. “It has defied every effort to defeat it—hundreds of thousands are deliberately and legally killed every year—and has literally taken over North America,” wrote William K. Stevens in a New York Times article in 1999. For a species that […]

Highway 81 Revisited

The American Automobile Association has called it one of the nation’s most scenic stretches of interstate. As it winds through the rolling farmland of the Shenandoah Valley and around the mountain ridges of southwest Virginia, Interstate 81 allows tourists in the Old Dominion a rare treat — the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking scenery at […]

Region's Businesses Pitch In for the Mountains

This fall, dozens of homegrown businesses from across Appalachia pitched in for an autumn Appalachian Voices benefit. From a mountain bike to raft trips, from a fine bottle of wine to bed and breakfast getaways, these businesses donated over 75 items to Appalachian Voices’ benefit raffle and silent auction, held during Appalachian Voices’ first annual […]

Urban Wilderness: Birding in a National Airport's Shadow

You may not think of the booming Washington, D.C. metro area, with its population of 5 million, as part of the Appalachian wilderness experience. Think again. If business or political activity takes you to the capital, be sure to seek out one of the most satisfying wildlife experiences possible: observing hundreds of bird species, […]

An Appalachian Earthship: Reinventing the Wheel

Ken and Etta Lebensold reside in a house made of garbage. If their walls could talk, they would tell of traveling cross-country thousands of times. They are well-traveled walls, insulated with 700 used tires, which have been rammed with soil from the home site to create large rubber-rimmed bricks. The Lebensold house is an earthship, […]

Festivals Provide Fun and Funds in the High Country

Late in the summer of 1996, the checkered flag fell frantically at the North Wilkesboro Speedway as 25-year-old Jeff Gordon finished first in the NASCAR Tyson Holly Farms 400. A desperate Dale Earnhardt then zoomed by — a scant 1.73 seconds behind Gordon — to come in second. The victory was the tenth of the […]


Dear Appalachian Voice, I like to get your paper even if our government will not stop [mountaintop removal mining]. I received my first copy through a friend. I was born and raised in SW Virginia in the beautiful mountains. Now it’s terribly dirty. The mountains in Pardu, VA, north of Appalachia are nothing but one […]

Altapass Orchards combine Stewardship, Enterprise and Cultural Preservation

When Robert Young marched through what is now known as McKinney Gap in 1780, he never imagined his descendants would grow heirloom apples and preserve Appalachian heritage literally on the ground he trod. Young, an east Tenneseean, was a member of the Overmountain Men, a group of backwoodsmen who defeated the British at the […]