"Though the Appalachian region is home to less than 10 percent of the United States' population, the region's traffic fatality rate is 45 percent higher than that of non-Appalachian areas, according to faculty at West Virginia University's School of Public Health."
"At the eastern end of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, not far from Cosby, are three 25-foot-tall hemlock trees enveloped in nylon that appear out of nowhere like circus tents in the middle of the forest.They’re called canopy cages. Six years ago the University of Tennessee and the U.S. Forest Service tested them at Blackberry Farm in Blount County, and now they’re being used in the Smokies to help control the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny, nonnative insect pest that has been killing the park’s hemlocks for more than a decade."
"With eight in 10 farmers making less than $10,000 a year, West Virginia will never rival big Midwestern factory farms in producing food. But creative collaborations with food entrepreneurs are seeding a new kind of economy that federal officials say could become a model for 12 other Appalachian states."
"Coal production in Southern West Virginia and the rest of central Appalachia will continue to plummet over the next 30 years, according to a new report that examines multiple stresses that are pressuring the region's mining industry. The report, from the Morgantown-based environmental consulting firm Downstream Strategies, says current government estimates project production to drop by 53 percent between 2011 and 2040."
"Officials in Letcher County are exploring the possibility of creating a water trail for tourists...The area already offers or is developing trails for all-terrain vehicles, hikers, bikers and horseback riders."
"The number of coal jobs in Kentucky has dropped to the lowest level recorded since the state started keeping count in 1950, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet...Eastern Kentucky has been hit hardest, by far. More than 5,500 of those layoffs were in the eastern coalfield, according to the state report."
"A hush came over the group as the elk emerged from behind a copse of trees. The young elk, larger than a white-tailed deer, pricked their ears toward the humans, seemingly sizing them up, before running back along the pen into another area hidden from view. The silence was almost reverent, as a group of people who have worked for years to reintroduce the animal into Virginia stood looking at the fruits of their labor."
"A longtime coal operator plans to open seven mines in the heart of the eastern Kentucky coalfields in a venture expected to create more than 250 jobs in a hard-pressed region where several thousand mining jobs have disappeared in recent years...It's a business model that officials hope will rejuvenate the area's slumping coal industry as they increasingly look abroad at emerging markets as domestic demand has dwindled."