Hidden Valley Wildlife Management Area

by Richard Kretz Richard Kretz is a regionally-acclaimed naturalist and photographer whose digital images capture the vibrant beauty and diversity of nature. His life project is to photographically document as much of the flora and fauna as possible in far Southwest Virginia. He resides at the foot of Clinch Mountain near Lebanon in Russell County, […]

Birds of the Powell, Clinch, and Holston River Watersheds

by Ed Talbott Photos courtesy of Roger Mayhorn except where noted rmayhorn@hughes.net http://pbase.com/mayhorn Three major river systems arise in the hill and valley region of Southwest Virginia and follow the ridgelines, flowing southwest into Northeast Tennessee. The rivers are the Clinch, the Powell and the Holston, and these rivers, along with the French Broad River, eventually […]

Is There a Middle Road in the Mountain Top Removal Debate?

Over thirty years ago, the Federal Surface Mining Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter. I was invited to attend the Rose Garden signing ceremony because of the work that I and many others had done to get the Act passed. When he signed the bill, President Carter complained that the bill had been “watered down” and said he hoped it would be a start for stronger laws to come.

Conservation Group Seeks Sponsors to Publish Educational Book about the Upper Tennessee Watershed in Virginia

The Virginia headwaters of the Upper Tennessee River consist of three river systems — the Holston, Clinch, and Powell — which together contain more species and varieties of plants and animals than any other watershed in continental North America. The heavily-forested and mountainous region contains 48 imperiled fish and mussel species, 21 of which are […]

Litter Prevention in Southwest Virginia

Throughout the Southwest Virginia region, the presence of litter affects not only the appearance of the landscape and the negative attitude of others toward those of us who live here, but it is also a deterrent to tourism and new industry. Although dramatic progress has been made over the past several years to clean up as well as to change attitudes and habits, litter and illegal dump sites continue to mar many roadways, mountainsides, and streams in our otherwise beautiful area.

Why Living in Appalachia Ain’t So Bad

During the last presidential race, the stereotype of Appalachia once again reared its ugly head. The national media could not resist taking repeated potshots at the last place they can slander without penalty. The region’s embracement of Hillary Clinton over Barrack Obama in the Democrat primaries had to be based upon racism, the media conclusion went, although many northern state and city polls showed that race was a determining factor at a higher rate there than in the mountains. The media tended to ignore the fact that whether black or white, if a voter primarily chooses a candidate based on race, that is racism. Candidate Obama’s biggest difficulty in Appalachia tended to be his liberal views about gun rights, questions about religion and Reverend Wright, and lingering doubts in the mountains that government can fix anything. In fact, our region has embraced many government interventions and programs, including Roosevelt’s New Deal, federal labor rights, and national mine safety and reclamation laws, to name a few. Like most Americans though, we are generally opposed to federal intervention and pork unless it helps us directly.

Zero to 11,000 in 12 Years Flat: Bonanza in the Bluegrass State

Our boots hadn’t even touched the ground outside of the truck when we lost count of how many bulls we could hear. They were coming from a 360-degree arc around us, and one of them had to be inside 100 yards. It’s tough to pull out your gear in total silence when you’re twitching with adrenaline. My companion Claudis had a better excuse than I did, though. He’d never even seen an elk before the previous evening when we’d spotted a small herd.