Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mason to Visit Appalachia

This weekend people from Mason will be joining other folks from the Capitol region on a trip to central Appalachia. Specifically they will be traveling to Kayford, West Virginia, in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields. The purpose of the trip is twofold: to learn about and see the devastation caused by mountaintop removal firsthand and to celebrate Appalachian culture that is under siege from it.

The plan is to travel west on Friday afternoon, stopping at the Little Grill Collective in Harrisonburg for dinner. From there, the group will head into West Virginia and camp on Friday night. Saturday morning they will tour mountaintop removal sites and hear stories from coalfield residents that have been directly impacted by it. Saturday afternoon and evening will be spent at the Changing of the Leaves Festival on Kayford Mountain. The event, hosted by well-known anti-mountaintop removal crusader Larry Gibson, promises live music, a potluck dinner, and new friendships.

According to the website for Keepers of the Mountains Foundation Larry’s family has been living on Kayford mountain since the 1700's. Coal companies began stripping the mountain in 1986 and Larry has been fighting for his land ever since. Mason’s Environmental Action Group has been active in the struggle against mountaintop removal, educating the Mason community about the

On Sunday morning the group will head back to suburbia but not before stopping at Virginia Safari Park for some fun with animals.

All-in-all, the weekend promises to be a great time for all that attend. Although this is not an official Mason trip, anyone interested in attending is encouraged to send an email to gmueag@gmail.com for more information or check out the Facebook event: Awesome Appalachia Weekend. For people that would like to learn more about mountaintop removal and how to join the fight against it but already have plans for this weekend, there is another, similar event on October 22nd through 24th also on Kayford Mountain: Mountain Justice Fall Summit. Mason will definitely have a presence at this event as well so be on the lookout for more information which will be coming soon.

See a video of Larry Gibson from the recent Voices of the Mountains conference (which was part of Appalachia Rising): 

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