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Appalachia Town Looks To Tourism To Diversify Economy

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the Ohio Valley’s coal industry continues to decline, many coal-dependent communities are left asking, ‘What’s next?’

For some, a different kind of natural resource could be the key. Energy and environment reporter Brittany Patterson visited one community in southwest Virginia that is betting big on outdoor recreation – and getting some help from an unusual local resident.

Also on today’s show, Sarah Smarsh released her New York Times bestselling memoir The Heartland in 2018. It explores her childhood growing up on a farm in central Kansas. It was a national book award finalist and thrust her into the spotlight for writing about life in rural America from rural America.

Now, Smarsh is expanding her focus on life in rural Kansas to regions across the country, inviting Appalachian filmmakers, Black Belt farmers, and farmworkers from California’s Central Valley, among others, to discuss what she sees as a shift in America: the trend of young people moving from their elite urban cities back home. It’s the focus of her new podcast “The Homercomers” which she discussed with 100 Days in Appalachia’s Ashton Marra.

And the Appalachian Queer Film Festival is back in West Virginia after taking a hiatus. Emily Allen reports people in the Charleston area spent the weekend watching LGBTQ-themed cinema at the Floralee Hark Cohen theater.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.