West Virginia counts a company's promise to open exhausted mining sites to hunters and fishermen as sufficient to make the land a "recreational facility." But neither approach is more than a dodge since hardwood forests refuse to grow on strip-mined
land: eliminating forests and streams does not improve wildlife habitat.
Between 1930 and 1980, a total of 1,454 square miles were strip-mined for bituminous coal in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee.
In central Appalachia, most strip-mined surfaces have been reclaimed either as unmanaged forest or as "hayland/pasture," a term referring to land suitable for grazing.
Even the strip-mined land marked as eventual "unmanaged forest" doesn't produce the sort of timber it could if it were reclaimed properly.
Restoring wildlife habitat has also made good economic sense in eastern Ohio, where recreational opportunities for horseback riders and hunters were increased by reforesting strip-mined land.
Dennis Cable, district forest manager with the Ohio Division of Forestry, is proud that the project demonstrates that strip-mined land can be successfully reforested despite soil compaction caused by the heavy earth movers used to restore the contours.
Ohio's next Heritage Forest will be in Perry State Forest, where a 72-acre strip-mined area will be reforested with 65,000 Virginia pine.
Our once unmatched manufacturing production capabilities have been strip-mined
and exported to Asia and Latin America, along with millions of blue collar jobs that provided a livelihood for middle-class families.
* Partnering with the National Wild Turkey Federation to plant hardwoods on reclaimed strip-mined
areas in Ohio.