Real Coalfields

New River Gorge Bridge
Chad Matlick / WVPB

A new report shows that tourism in southern West Virginia’s national parks injected more than $70 million into the local economies in 2019, which was before the coronavirus pandemic impacted the business in the state. 


Taylor Wright // West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

The fourth annual West Virginia art and writing contest aimed at raising awareness of prescription painkiller abuse has ended, with a student from the southern region named as the winner.

Fourth grader Taylor Wright of Lashmeet/Matoaka Elementary School in Mercer County was selected as the statewide winner in the ‘Kids Kick Opioids’ contest, according to a press release from Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. The southern coalfields, including Mercer County, have been impacted especially hard by the epidemic.

Annetta Coffman

This story was updated on June 16, 2020, at 4:50 p.m. to include a statement from the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The rain poured down for hours on Sunday, slamming the valleys of Fayette County with water. As the earth became saturated, local streams swelled. 

Minden resident Marie Collins said the water washed out the underpinning of her house.

“We had to sleep in the car last night,” Collins said on Monday. 


Fayette County Map
David Benbennick / wikimedia commons

The West Virginia Public Service Commission has opened a general investigation into the quality of water service provided by the Page-Kincaid Public Service District in Fayette County. 

As of May 18th, the entire service district is under a boil water advisory for an unspecified amount of time. It serves more than 600 Fayette County customers.

Stradwick's Fade Cave Facebook Page

Across the U.S., some states, including West Virginia, are beginning to loosen restrictions meant to reduce the spread of coronavirus, allowing for some non-essential businesses to reopen. 

On Monday, May 4, West Virginia entered the second week of Gov. Jim Justice’s six-week reopening plan, “The Comeback.” During week two, businesses with fewer than 10 employees, salons and barber shops, dog grooming services, and outdoor dining restaurants are allowed to reopen. Churches and other places of worship are allowed to conduct funerals and other services with limited gathering sizes. 


Deep Mountain Farm

Just outside Fayetteville, West Virginia, there's a 42-acre farm that has just about everything -- chickens, lambs, sheep, produce and dogs. The latest addition is a litter of Great Pyrenees puppies, who will become guardian dogs for the sheep.

Christine Weirick owns and operates Deep Mountain Farm with her husband Chris Jackson and their two young daughters. 


Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This time of year, the Hatfield McCoy trail system in southern West Virginia usually is buzzing with ATVs. In fact, Jeffrey Lusk, director of the Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, said he makes almost half of his permit sales for the year from March 1 to April 30. 

But for towns and local businesses along the trail system, things are pretty quiet these days. The Hatfield McCoy trails have been closed since March 20, by an executive order from Governor Jim Justice to enforce social distancing and public health recommendations from the federal government. 


Donna Graham

Just over 100 years ago, West Virginia faced the Spanish Flu, which is thought to be one of the world’s deadliest pandemics in modern history. Records indicate 50 million people died worldwide, and nearly 3,000 of those were West Virginians. 

And while researchers have been hesitant to compare the Spanish Flu with the current pandemic, there have been some grim similarities. The Centers for Disease Control estimates well over 100,000 people have died worldwide from coronavirus.  


e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

American soul singer legend and West Virginia native Bill Withers has died at 81 of heart complications, unrelated to coronavirus, according to the Associated Press. In a statement released to the AP, Withers’ family said he died Monday in Los Angeles. 

New River Gorge Bridge
Chad Matlick / WVPB

Three national parks in West Virginia closed their facilities at noon on Tuesday in response to COVID-19.

Campgrounds and restrooms in New River Gorge National River, Gauley River National Recreation Area and Bluestone National Scenic River are closed indefinitely. 


West Virginia Public Broadcasting

For the past few months, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia Folkways Project has cultivated a connection between two groups of people thousands of miles away — high schools in Lincoln County, West Virginia and in Merthyr Tydfill, Wales.


Cecelia Mason / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Check back here for the latest coverage on the coronavirus.

Communities in Southern West Virginia worked to feed kids Monday, the first day schools were closed in an effort to slow the potential spread of the coronavirus.


West Virginia Department of Natural Resources

The West Virginia elk reintroduction program is four years in, and the project is not growing as fast as expected; however, there is a herd in the Southern Coalfields that is slowly getting bigger. 


Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The 2020 West Virginia legislative session has ended with no new legislation addressing black lung benefits, leaving former and current coal miners to depend on waning federal benefits to combat the lifelong disease.  


Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Officials from the West Virginia’s Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday that an extinct species native to West Virginia were restored.


Emily Allen / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Flooding in the past week has once again consumed much of southern West Virginia, with Gov. Jim Justice signing a state of emergency proclamation for seven counties on Friday. 

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Little creatures are popping up on the streets of downtown Fayetteville, W.Va. People might find them hiding in trees, behind bushes, on benches or even inside local shops.

“Cause at this point, we’re like a gnome explosion,” said Tabitha Stover, Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director.


Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Just about any search on Google for “best white water rafting” includes West Virginia. Around 150,000 people commercially raft a West Virginia river each year, mostly on the New River and Gauley River, which are near Fayetteville, West Virginia. At one point there were just less than 30 rafting companies in the area. Today, they have consolidated into six adventure businesses. 

Caitlin Tan

Families all across the world pass on traditions and it is no exception in Appalachia.

Traditions like making apple butter in the fall, or celebrating Christmas morning at mamaws, or picking ramps at that secret spot in the spring, or even just going to church on Sunday.

But for one family in Lincoln County, West Virginia, the tradition is building furniture.