Latest Posts

Living off the land is a necessity in Appalachia

Lets be honest, across the U.S. there has been economic issues over the last several years. I don’t want to discount that fact, but that economic crisis is even more serious in an already impoverished Appalachia. In a 2007-2011 report the Appalachian region had a 16% poverty rate compared to 14% across the rest of the states, and Kentucky was a whopping 24%. Those are alarming numbers if I’ve ever seen them. So many may ask and wonder how the inhabitants of the Appalachian region are able to survive while being impoverished to the extent they are. The answer is that they have learned to live off of the land as much as possible.

How something as simple as a pellet gun helps people survive

One of the most commons ways that these people live off the land is by hunting. They hunt all kinds of critters and don’t necessarily focus on typically hunting prey such as deer or geese, but instead they will kill squirrel, raccoon, and rabbit. Often times a father and son duo, with the son being sometimes younger than 10 years old, will venture out to get meals for the family on a daily basis. So while they may not work and bring in an income all of the time, they are still doing work, often times more than “working people”.

Now, we all know that there are gun laws that prevent young children from legally being able to hunt, so when they’re younger and go out with their father for a hunt, they will often use a hunting pellet gun, not the best pellet gun, but one that will get the job done. They don’t really have the income to spend frivolously on the best, so they will often times make do with one that has been passed down through the years.

What many outside of the rural regions of Appalachia don’t understand is that this has become tradition and nature, similar to how those along the Gulf of Mexico live off of gator and other wild game. At a young age, the men are often times brought in and taught how to do things this way because there is usually no better choice since education is not always the easiest and best thing in these regions. Sure, some people make it out and become successful, but others live this life because it’s necessary.

Because it is necessary, sons , and sometimes daughters, will learn how to shoot pellet guns at ages such as 6 or 7. These are ages where most young children are just beginning to learn addition and subtraction as well as having fun with sleep overs. Well, those who grow up in this region aren’t always lucky enough to be able to have a normal child life as those outside would view it as.

I remember a story that was told to me one day from an older man, and the basis of the story was that “we do what we must to survive, and we can be happy without money.” That struck a cord with me because so many people in the world don’t know what it is like to live without money and material possessions. While people in impoverished areas are able to survive and be happy, they do so with as little as their land, hunting, and teaching the traditions to the younger generations so they can appreciate all that their fathers and grandfathers have done for them.

Getting at The Heart of the Appalachian Communities Issues

It remains a sad state in Appalachia. With as many natural resources and rich heritage as they have, it seems like a no-brainer that it would be a better environment for people to live in, but sadly that’s not that case. With mountaintop removal mining, people who live in this area are exposed to harsh conditions and drinking water that is not clean, flooding issues, blasting, and plain nasty sludge impoundments.

Residents of this area are fed up but do not have much of an upper hand because the regulations are so lax, out of order and ineffective. The mountaintop removal continues to be the #1 priority in this area to excavate natural resources leading to high attrition rates. This leads towns to slowly disappear into nothing. Tensions are high and neighbors are pitted against one another in an attempt to salvage a life in this region.

How Appalachian Region Affects the Health of Its Residents

The communities that straddle Appalachia are generally the unhealthiest in America. W. Virigiana and Kentucky are last and 2nd to last due to mountaintop removal. A recent study showed that mortality rates are rising due to heart disease and cancer, as well as other day to day problems that result from headaches from the harsh environment, foot pain caused from the lack of quality shoes that ultimately lead to plantar fasciitis and other foot ailments, and back pain from uneven surfaces.

Drinking water contamination is also a problem in this area leading to people not stayed hydrated. They are afraid of the high levels of thatiron and manganese concentrations that are well above the guidelines stated by the EPA, which exists in at least 50-60% of the wells in the Appalachian Plateau.

To add to this, the EPA mentions that water from streams that pass through the mountainous areas in Appalachia are the origin of many water resources for people in major US cities, causing concern amongst many folks that are receiving this water.

Because of the continuing mountaintop removal, coal slurry, which is a combination of washing and processing coal, is extremely topic and can leak into the water stream. There are over 65 chemicals that are used to wash coal on a regular basis, plus the amount of heavy metal that is found naturally in the coal, leads to more problems with the purity of the water. There have been residents very upset with this and many are suing the coal companies to cease their practice or force them to follow very close regulations to improve their stance.

Experts who have come to this region to evaluate the residents have found that there are number of people with significant health problems, ones that are unable to spend time in the outdoors getting the fresh air they need. They are unable to run or exercise, participating in a sporting event like soccer or skateboarding, and not to mention the inaccessibility to mundane things like quality skate shoes and soccer shoes.

Experts are finding up to 30 percent of the people in this region with mining take place have had their gallbladders removed, stomach problems, or rotted teeth. Everyone in America should have the right to clean water, yet the people who reside in these coal mining communities are not able to take advantage of this seemingly normal commodity. They also have to deal with blasting and flyrock that is constantly in contact with homes and residential streets. There is constant dust and rocks in the air, with some rocks considered boulders due to their size. Home’s foundations are often ruined or cracked due to the contact with these boulders, leading to depreciation in the cost of homes. Deaths from flying rocks are also not uncommon as they often inadvertently come into contact with humans.

The only way to fix these issues is for the government to step in and regulate the mining industry all together. Put restrictions on the number of coal companies that are allowed to do work inside the communities and pass rules to clean up the water in streams. Until this is done, the pain and suffering will continue in Appalachia, all at the expense of the people who are trying to make a difference in their town.

Increased assault count in Appalachia make me take action

Poverty in AppalachiaUnfortunately a large percentage of the Appalachian community lives on the the poverty line so that causes us to take some shortcuts as far as how and where we spend our money. Not only do a high percentage of us live in poverty, there’s a great deal of violence because of the rising poverty.

I’ve come to the decision that it’s important that I lock away all of my weapons including my hunting rifle, but gun safes I’ve come to realize are pretty expensive, and because of that I’ve taken to some gun safe reviews to find storage options that I can afford. I’m glad I don’t have a huge collection, but instead I only need to worry about my hunting rife and my handgun that I keep for emergencies in the chance someone breaks into my home.

We have always learned to live off of the land using fishing, streams, and hunting as a means to gather enough food for the winter because otherwise we would likely spend all our wages on going to and from any of the larger towns in the area. Because of the need to hunt as much as possible and live off the land, criminals can have easy access to our guns if we were to just leave them in a closet like my father and grandfather used to do.

While Sandhook and the Colorado shootings are some of the most notably examples of a gun getting into the wrong hands, there was a horrific situation that took place in 2002 that not many people realize. At the Appalachian School of Law, a student burst into the office of his dean at the time and killed a total of 3 people. This is an example of how and why it’s important in a region where poverty keeps getting worse that we need to protect everyone involved.

It’s unfortunate that it has come to this in an area I’ve grown up in and love, but poverty is real in the Appalachians and because of that I have started to make the decision to take precautionary measures to make sure that I won’t become a victim of the neglect that has befallen the area. When a 17 year old boy decides to take out a handgun and shoot on a cop, I know it’s gotten to the point where I can’t live in the past of the good old days but need to look to the future and how times have changed. I just hope that I make sure that a firearm I own doesn’t make it into the hands of someone it shouldn’t.

All of this is a grim reminder that we need to work and do whatever we can to rid the world of poverty. Not only would we all be in a better place as far as health, and mental state, but we wouldn’t have to worry as much about violence. The backwoods used to be so peaceful and a booming community but things can change quickly anywhere and when it starts going downhill, society will go to great extremes in order to make sure they are the ones that succumb to the environment around them. I would suggest to everyone in an area where there is an increase in violence to find a way to keep anyone from illegally obtaining your firearm because if not, then others may fall victim to what has happened in Central Appalachia.

The Sickening Lack of Resources in Appalachian Communities

Central Appalachia is counting on you to help out and support organizations that are going above and beyond to fix problems of poverty, racism, and health issues in the heart of the Appalachian communities. We hope that after reading this passage, you’ll understand that your help is desperately needed and a gift of time, resources, or money is greatly appreciated.

The Appalachians has a lot of things going for it. See it on a map or hear about it from ancestors and it is the oldest mountain range in the United States. Small towns, lush mountains, and dedicated communities adorn the area. But the mountainous area has made it hard for people outside to travel to the locations and help with poverty situations, health care issues, and inadequate educational resources.

map

Coal, gas, and oil were great natural resources that made the Appalachian Mountains such an encouraging place to live. But now companies come in and profit off the natural resources at the expense of the people living there while destroying the area, leaving generations with a huge cleanup, and one they can’t afford or have the know-how to do, at that. To have some of the most desirable natural resources inside the some of the poorest towns just doesn’t make sense, and these people should be benefitting from the beauty that lies within their walls.

Most people are low wealth individuals and women and people of color are often looked at differently and not asked to participate or apply for local jobs. Here are some other tidbits you might find interesting:

In Central Appalachia, 55% of the counties only have 1 hospital and 1 in 4 doesn’t have one to speak of at all. Think about the rapidly diminishing health of these individuals who are missing out on every the most basic of needs. Education in nursing training and building foundations could go a long way. If a hospital were to be approved, the number of jobs available to the people would be incredible. Families would be able to rely on the earnings to eat, shop, and increase their knowledge. Nurses and doctors would be able to find jobs inside the walls, taking care of patients. They’d have all the equipment and materials they need, including medical equipment, scrubs, top nurse shoes, and beds to make a hospital-absent town relevant again. This kind of step in the right direction can give other communities hope that one day they can become educated in the same way and start to create buildings that are meaningful to everyone.

Over 20% of the people that live in the region live below the poverty line, at or near $21,000. In this day and age, there should be enough jobs for people to take on, and the poverty line should be non-existent. Problem is, 80% of the counties are rural, leaving over half the region living in these rural counties. They’re so spaced out that people don’t have the opportunity to communicate to formulate a plan and make things better.

Because has been corruption and abuse in excavating natural resources, more than 1 million acres of forests, 500 mountains, and numerous streams have been destroyed. To right the ship, actions need to take place by the state government to bring more education and jobs into the communities. Two super-max prisons are a start for both construction jobs and prison roles. But more must be done to make Appalachian a more desirable place to live and start a family, starting with hospitals that have both nursing positions to fill for and people who desperately desire the care. More can be sought out at http://www.bestshoesfornursesguide.net/.

Poverty and Turmoil in the Appalachians

article-2134196-12BB6EC9000005DC-649_964x627As stated by the United States Census of 2013, over 41% of the residents in the Appalachian county had median incomes that placed them well below the poverty line. This is a sad and unfortunate truth and one that is largely ignored over time. It is to U.S.’s continued shame that poverty and impoverishment are alive and well in 21st century America. In this article, we will take a closer and more detailed look at the way that poverty and destitution is afflicting the Appalachian area, and how getting a better idea of the conditions can lead to improvements.

How is Poverty Thriving in the Appalachian Area?

Squalid Homes

It should come as no real surprise that the poverty stricken people of the Appalachian mountain area live in homes that are not real fit for human habitation. The “lucky” ones get to live in trailers that have been adapted into permanent residences, whilst plenty of others live in dwellings that are no more than shacks.

These shanty towns are the result of being built by people that neither have the technology, the materials or the skills to build decent homes. The result is a collection of shacks that are extremely vulnerable to the elements, and a lot of the wood used in their construction is being constantly eaten away by damp and rot. More often than not, any attempt to repair the walls or roofs of these shacks has to be abandoned, due to the fact that the wood is so rotten as to be unable to support the weight of a new addition or repair job. These homes, which are rotten, broken and constantly under attack from the weather as well as termites, show just how bad the poverty is in this area. However, this is just the beginning.

Poor Health

Many of the inhabitants of this area are also susceptible to illness and injury. Because jobs are virtually nowhere to be found in the area, most of the inhabitants live off welfare supplied by the government. Due to the fact that the people living here have to make a living on what little money they do get, and due to the fact that jobs are virtually impossible to come by, health is one of the last things on their minds. That is until illness strikes. The water is less than clean, and it is not unusual for children to succumb to illness and death from poor sanitation, whilst being overrun with lice and ticks.

Finally

Only when the people in the area are given proper homes, access to healthcare and decent jobs, will the living conditions improve for the people of the Appalachian mountains, until then, anything else is just papering over the cracks. The American government needs to look closer at a prime area of the United States that is being ignored and even under-reported in population. Systems need to be set up and put into place to improve the conditions and educate the poor. American cannot be compared to a third-world country yet the Appalachian area is very close to the type of conditions you might find in African countries.

Setting up training centers and schools, educating people on birth control and nutrition, giving them the same benefits that are afforded to the rest of America is a start. Poverty in American is often not talked about as much as other national headlines especially when this country has so many issues and potential solutions that have been mismanaged and rift with scams and thievery. Only when the American public is willing to shed some light on this area and do something about it will we take steps in the right direction.

History of the Appalachian Trail

appalachian trailThe Appalachian Trail is truly one of the treasures of America, and yet many people don’t seem to know its history! More than just a cool hiking trail, or a line across the eastern United States that people can follow state to state up the eastern seaboard, the Appalachian Trail is steeped in American history and a great lesson in America for those seeking to know more about our great country.

It all started around 1921, when a forester named Benton MacKaye conceived of his original plan for an Appalachian Trail shortly after the death of his wife. McKaye conceived of an idea that would connect farms and wilderness outposts along the trail to cities and more, so that people who lived in cities could access the outdoors and enjoy what America had to offer.

The next year, McKaye’s suggestion was publicized in the New York Evening Post with a  full-page banner headline that suggested there be a trail proposed and created linking Maine to Georgia, and every state in between. An organization called the Palisades Interstate Park Trail Conference picked up this idea and ran with it, making it their top issue that year and henceforth until the trail was created.

Over a year later, in October of 1923, the very first section of the trail was opened. The trail ran from Bear Mountain, New York all the way west to Harriman State Park and through the town of Arden, New York, officially opening up the first part of the Appalachian Trail for visitors and hikers. More portions of the trail were opened over time, and McKaye himself called for the first Appalachian Trail Conference in 1925 in Washington, D.C. to discuss conservancy and other issues specific to the trail and outdoors and forestry in the United States.

From there, over the next few years, a variety of other men took up the cause of the Appalachian Trail and devoted their time and energies to promote portions of the trail to be created and completed in their respective states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and on down the eastern seaboard. Specifically, a man named Myron Avery worked tirelessly beginning in 1929 to link states together and bring new states on board with creating their own sections of the Appalachian Trail.

In 1948, a man named Earl Shaffer of York, Pennsylvania, made news as the first mane to completely hike the trail as the first documented “thru-hike,” going north-to-south and completed the entire trail all the way through (Avery had hiked the entire trail, previously, but not in one time).

In 1968, the Appalachian Trail developed the respect we know for it today, with the National Trails System Act of 1968 being passed, designating the Appalachian Trail as the first national scenic trail, and containing it within the National Park Service and National Forest Service systems. Today, thousands and thousands of people hike portions or all of the trail, and it is one of the most popular outdoor tourist destinations in all of America!

Overall, it’s pretty interesting to see how the Appalachian Trail came to be — formed through strong foresight, leadership and guidance of many smart individuals.

Traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Knowing how to prepare and enjoy a Great Smoky Mountains trip that you have set up is not difficult. With the vast amount of information available and the availability of items you will need, everyone can manage this without a lot of hassle. You just need to make sure that you do research into the activities that you want to do, what the weather is going to be like, what areas you want to visit, and what you will need for the length of time you are visiting. Having everything ready will help you to enjoy your time at the GS Mountains far more.

What You Need to Gather Ahead of Time

Before buying gear or supplies, you need to set up the time of the year you want to visit. The weather at the Great Smoky Mountains is not going to be perfect every day of the year, after all, so look at current and constant weather updates leading up to and during your trip. Plan where you go based on where the weather is best for your activity, like moving around for rain when doing wildlife watching, and keep track of the weather’s movements. If bad weather is coming your way while you are out, try to set up a safe location that is going to reduce the risk of damage or harm and that is going to be reliable throughout the bad weather. Not paying attention to the weather in the season you are visiting the Great Smoky Mountains may cause havoc on your trip.

gsmThere is a lot of gear that you have to buy, depending on what you are doing. For wildlife watchers, you need to have comfortable clothing, a capable camera, binoculars, and protection from the surroundings, while bicyclists will need a bike capable of moving through the grounds, the appropriate biking attire, and safety equipment. If you are experienced with the activity that you are doing, you may already know what is needed. However, people who are not, or who do not know the area, should speak to someone local who understands the needs of your specific activity at the Great Smoky Mountains. There are also online sites dedicated to planning your splendid trip, such as the Great Smoky Mountains website. They will inform you of all the things you need to know to be successful and enjoy your travels.

Make sure that you stock up on supplies, too. From emergency medical supplies to food, you have to be prepared. Choose what you bring based on what you are doing. If you are picnicking or camping, you are going to need to bring more food than medical supplies, while more intense activities may lean the other way. Also keep in mind emergency situations that leave you stranded. Have items that allow you to contact others for help, move around in the dark, deal with dangerous areas, and find your way around in general.

Make sure you give yourself enough time to enjoy the sites and see everything. You won’t want to be rushed and you must understand the vast size of the GS Mountains and how much their is to do. You will also want to plan time to rest and possibly use a hot tub to re-energize your muscles. This isn’t a relaxing beach type of vacation, you must remember that. Biking, hiking, walking, climbing, and sight seeing takes a lot manual movement and thus can be taxing on the body.

If you take all of these recommendations into consideration, you will be assured that your trip will be a success. Take one step at a time and start making your list and crossing them off as you go.