Last June the Pocahontas County Commission held meetings to fill the seat vacant from the untimely death of Commissioner Dolan Irvine. A common thread of the 13 candidates applying for that seat was a desire for more job opportunities and for the county population to reach 10,000 from its current 8,500. But how do we reach those goals? We can’t just wish them into being. I support the proposal to create Eight Rivers National Monument as a strong forward step in meeting those worthy goals. Please let me explain. What draws people to live in Pocahontas County? Why live here instead of somewhere else? While numerous reasons might be given, one that stands out is the extraordinary beauty and wonder of nature that is all about us to enjoy. Eight clear rivers head up here. The Monongahela National Forest, two state forests, and several state parks comprise about two-thirds of our county. We are a paradise for hunters, fishermen, hikers, bikers, motorcyclists, horsemen, birders, skiers, cavers and campers. Our deep mountain culture is rich in music, art, farming and neighborliness. Yes, we could also make a long list of what is challenging about living in Pocahontas County. Chipping away at those difficulties by improving infrastructure, local business success, and community spirit is important. However, a community’s greatest potential asset is within its people. Dr. Thomas Power is a noted expert on rural development based at the University of Montana. His extensive research shows that a beautiful landscape with numerous nature-oriented activities attracts workers, entrepreneurs and businesses and thereby boosts a community’s economic position much more than does tourism or resource extraction. According to Kurt Repanshek in an article, “Is There Economic Value to That National Monument in Your Backyard?” (National Parks Traveler, March 17, 2010), “When national monuments or national parks are created, they often act like magnets for both those who make their livelihoods in those settings and those who want to live nearby for the quality-of-life benefits that come with these places.” While tourism, agriculture, and timbering should continue to be important to our county’s future, expanding our county’s growth and vibrancy will be most influenced through talented people who in the face of many options choose to build their lives here. We here in Pocahontas County need to “strut our stuff.” And we all know what it is that makes us so special and attractive – our magnificent outdoors. A national monument would showcase this to the world.
Open Letter to readers of The Pocahontas Times:
Citizens, landowners and anyone who enjoys our surroundings in this great place we live: do we really need more regulations and government control of our daily lives? We are once again being invaded by people who don’t need or want a good paying job, they only want to keep out any and all progress toward jobs. A National Monument designation would keep out any chances here of jobs and progress. As I see things, any jobs created by tourism are low pay and seasonal. Try raising a family on that kind of pay. I really enjoy living in Pocahontas County, hunting, fishing, gensenging, traveling the back roads and cutting my firewood for winter. With a National Monument designation all of these activities could be in jeopardy. I applaud our County Commission for rejecting this idea. This designation would only drive more industry from our county and we cannot stand to lose any more jobs or any more of our taxpaying businesses. I have not talked to anyone that I know who is in favor of this idea so do not let this happen without a fight. Contact your elected officials in Washington and let them know how you feel because the decision may be made by our officials in Congress and not locally.
Dear Editor: First, I’d like to thank Robin Robertson and Teresa Teter and the volunteers for taking care of the cat I found, outside in the parking lot. She was hiding under the cars. I named her Ginger. She was just a kitten. She wouldn’t come near me at first. She ran from me. Then, I started feeding a black cat that had a green collar on it. I put food out for it and the kitten started coming to me, too. I turned her into the shelter so she wouldn’t freeze in the wintertime. I was afraid she would get hit by a car or a dog would get a hold of her. The shelter takes real good care of the animals. It’s a shame that there’s a lot of stray animals around. The shelter has a lot of animals for adoption. Anyone who can, please help. They have dogs, cats, kittens, bunny rabbits and chickens. I’m a regular visitor to the animal shelter. I have a cat. I’m not allowed to have any more. Please, if anyone can, any kind of donation would be appreciated. The animals deserve the best. Pocahontas County Animal Shelter is giving the best care to the animals.
Louise Mary Neely Marlinton