Front Porch Blog

Blast Rites

Grist has an amazing story about all the family cemeteries and burial grounds that are being destroyed by mountaintop removal. Including Larry Gibson’s, which I saw last month. Larry says that over 100 wooden crosses have been thrown over the canyon walls below his family cemetery. The Girst article is an essential read.

Because the coal-rich land that companies buy or lease often borders or encompasses communities that date back hundreds of years, companies inadvertently find themselves in possession of the generations-old family cemeteries that pepper the landscape. Though the law requires them to provide access to cemetery visitors and researchers, the plots are often inaccessible, either due to remote locations or heavy mining activity around them. By the time families with limited access or those who have moved away return to visit their ancestors, they often find that the roads have been closed — or worse, that the cemetery and graves no longer exist.

Here’s some photos from Larry’s family cemetery…
(The “PARK” sign points directly to the Kayford Mountain MTR site)

(From this spot, Larry says you used to be able to look UP and see horses running across the pasture above you. The pasture has now been blasted away, and all that remains is a barren wasteland – an entire mountain moved for coal. What is left is a pathetic corpse of our beautiful Appalachian Mountains)

…and this one breaks my heart.





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