Help defend the mountains by visiting them
By Dave Cooper
The Summer of 2011 will be a summer of action in the Appalachian Mountains.
Mountain Justice Summer Camp
Mountain Justice Summer camp will take place May 21-27 on top of beautiful Pine Mountain in eastern Kentucky. From the top of the mountain, you can see a mountaintop removal mine on Black Mountain and hear the blasts go off. The forests on top of the mountain are spectacular, and there are good hiking trails to the Mars Rocks, Tower Road, the Little Shepherd Trail, and the Pine Mountain Trail.
Featuring workshops, speakers, mountain music, a trip to see a mountaintop removal mine, bonfires, tent camping, good food, hiking at Bad Branch, sunsets and mountain views, the Mountain Justice Summer camp will be totally off the grid: Greenpeace will provide its massive “Rolling Sunlight” solar panel to light up our pavilion and provide power to the sound system for evening entertainment. We will even use solar showers and a composting toilet system.
Workshops will include community organizing, air and water monitoring, administrative and legal avenues to stop MTR, media work, direct action and civil resistance, alternative economies and sustainable livelihoods
Although many participants in the Mountain Justice camp are young people and college students, everyone is welcomed. Cost for the week-long Mountain Justice camp is very reasonable (less than $100). To register, go to www.mountainjustice.org
Heartwood Forest Council
The Mountain Justice camp will be immediately followed by the 21st annual Heartwood Forest Council, to be held at Camp Ahistadi in Damascus, Virginia over Memorial Day weekend May 27-30. Camp Ahistadi – Cherokee for “the very best of all” – is located in the Cherokee National Forest, near the Virginia-Tennessee border. Laurel Creek runs through the camp, along with several hiking trails. Nearby Damascus, Virginia, is a popular stop along the Appalachian Trail. America’s best rail-trail, the Virginia Creeper Trail, is just a few miles away, and Mt. Rogers, the highest point in Virginia, and Grayson Highlands are a short drive away.
The theme for this year’s Forest Council is “Energy!” and will focus on energy-based threats to our region’s forests and communities: mountaintop removal coal mining, industrial-scale biomass burning for electricity, and hydrofracking for natural gas.
Heartwood will also highlight the positive “energy” in the region that is working to move us away from these destructive sources of power and toward more sustainable lives and communities. The program will consist of 3 days of workshops, discussions, keynote speakers, and field trips—interspersed with ample social time, leisure, lively local music, dancing, and great food.
The Forest Council will be family friendly—kids of all ages are encouraged to attend. As always, this year’s Forest Council will feature great food, lovingly prepared by chefs Shane McElwee and Jessica Nalbone and their kitchen magicians, using the best possible fresh, local, and organic ingredients; live local music and dancing; plus a benefit auction; and the famous Heartwood Talent Show.
Personal connections made at the Heartwood Forest Council each year that are the heart of the Heartwood network. For more information and to register: http://www.heartwood.org/forest-council/.