Did you know: there are 1.5 million acres of abandoned mine land in Appalachia?

Did you know: that thousands of those acres are in West Virgina?

Did you know: abandoned mine lands can be cleaned up and used for all kinds of projects?

Keep reading to find out more!

One and a half million acres of mine scarred lands rest in the Appalachian Mountains that were once home to some of the most diverse and wonderful creatures in America. The thousands of coal mining sites had once produced a needed fuel, provided jobs to the local people, as well as contained irreplaceable ecosystems for creatures of Appalachia, are now abandoned. The barren lands that had been mined prior to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act in 1977 left these areas completely exposed, with little or no vegetation; heavily contributing to flooding and stream silting, adding to a blighted landscape. The Land Use Planning Program’s purpose is to begin returning environmental stability to the damaged mountainous terrain and in the process, transform abandoned mine land into community assets.

A stream contaminated by AMD

In Mullens, West Virginia an OSM/VISTA operating out of the office of the Rural Appalachian Improvement League, Inc. (RAIL) will design and put into practice the Land Use Planning Program. The OSM/VISTA will collect information pertaining to abandoned mind land (AML) from the eight eastern coal producing states. Although this study is being done in Southern West Virginia, it can be tailored for use in any area dealing with damage done by the mining industry.

The main focus is to raise awareness of the different ways the land is usable after its natural resources have been tapped into, as well as pinpointing the best option for continuing economic growth in the area. Some of the current reclaimed lands have been used for farming of food, timber – which has aided in reducing carbon dioxide- or fuel, including wind and solar. Along with those projects, housing complexes, golf courses, and airports have been developed on AML.

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Volunteers are a vital part of RAIL's success. We are SEEKING VOLUNTEERS! Please contact us if you want to make a difference and join our remarkable work teams.

In September 2010 RAIL volunteers began initiating a plan to invigorate Community and Economic development in the southern coalfields of West Virginia. In the past ten years RAIL has studied the needs of families in Appalachia as well as available resources and other accessible opportunities that can help their community become sustainable. Gaining a better understanding of what is needed has culminated in the Coal Heritage Trail of New Commerce Action Plan. Those implementing this plan, an organization at the grass roots, well understand their work cannot be successful without the help of volunteers and generous resources providers. Anyone interested in participating in this bold undertaking of helping families living in the Appalachian coalfields improve their economic and social conditions may contact mullensproject@aol.com for more information. RAIL gets its name from Rural Appalachian Improvement League, Inc. and can best be described as Volunteers coming together as an organization to find ways to best benefit their community

March 18, 2011

Alternative Spring Break
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