"If you don't have mining, you don't have an economy, and if you don't have an economy, you don't have a way for the people to live. But if you don't have environmental quality, you won't create the kind of place where people want to live."
Wendell Berry quoted this from Ewell Balltrip in an article in the Lexington Herald Leader. Balltrip has a very intriguing point of view on the mining of Eastern Kentucky Mountains. In his essay The Work of Local Culture, Berry, says that they had everything but money. What he means by this is that the people of Eastern Kentucky had all they needed, but they were poor. So mining became how they acquired their funds to keep a clean and developed town. At the end of his article Berry goes to say that if the clearly foreseeable result is a region of flat industrial sites where nobody wants to live, we need a better economy.
Robinson Forest was donated to the University of Kentucky around 1930, and was a huge moneymaker in the works. The logging from the forest funded camps being built, ecological studies to be made, and a scholarship fund to help those who can't afford college to attend one of Kentucky's institutions. But it all started in 1912 when E.O. Robinson acquired fifteen thousand acres of land in Breathitt, Perry, and Knott Counties. Starting in 1992, a four thousand acre section of land known as Laurel Fork is logged and strip-mined. Even though this led to one third of the forest to be razed, it generated thirty-five million dollars to go towards the scholarships and the ecological studies. The money also was used to build a camp so people could come and stay in the forest for however long they feel. After the University of Kentucky strip-mined the forest, and got their money, they just recently decided not to mine it anymore based upon the fact that they were destroying it. This has posed many problems, even though they are saving the...