The Spine of the Virginias. Journeys along the border between Virginia and West Virginia, by Michael Abraham. Book published by Pocahontas Press. Mr. Abraham chips away at the West Virginia formation myth. He follows with a collection of contemporary vignettes of people and places on both sides of the border of Virginia and West Virginnia, in revealing looks at the interaction between a landscape and its people. (540) 392-1119 or email him at

Monday September 20th
9:00 am in Lee County – Location to be announced – Tim Long (Host) (276)346-7766
Focus will be on Keokee, St. Charles, Pennington Gap areas

1:00 pm at the Norton Community Center 201 East Park Avenue, Norton VA – Shelly Knox (Host)
Focus will be on the City of Norton and Wise County areas (276)926-6074

6:00 pm (Location to be announced) - Stan Botts (Host) (276)523-2319
Wise County in particularly Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Exeter, Imboden and the City of Norton

Tuesday September 21st
5:30 pm at Richlands Chamber of Commerce – Ginger Branton(Host) (276-963-3385
For those in the Richlands, Cedar Bluff, Claypool Hill, Pounding Mill & Tazewell area

Wednesday September 22nd
9:00 in Scott County – Kathie Noe (Host) (276)386-6521

1:00 in Scott County – Kathie Noe (Host)

6:00 pm in Dante for the Russell County Area – Linda Tate & Bobbie Gullett (Hosts) (276)889-8041

Thursday September 23rd
9:00 am in the meeting room at St. Paul Town Hall – Sarah Love McReynolds (276)762-9383,
Mayor Kyle Fletcher & Loretta Mays (Hosts)
Focus will be on the Coeburn, Tacoma, Virginia City, St. Paul areas

6:00 pm at the Haysi Town Hall in Dickinson County – Rita Surratt (276)926-6074
Mayor Larry Yates (Host)
Focus will be on Dickenson County in particularly those in the communities of Haysi, Clinchco, Fremont, McClure, Nora, Trammel

Friday September 24th
9:00 in Scott County – Kathie Noe (Host)

1:00 in Scott County – Kathie Noe (Host)

Still waiting to hear back from Pocahontas on date and time for next week.
Jewell Ridge and Buchanan County will both be meeting in October


August 24th, 2010 by Debby Spencer

WMTH Corporation has now completed the preliminary inventory of the entire 300+ mile route of the Virginia Coal Heritage Trail State Byway. Attached is an excel file noting what one will find while driving the route. It is divided into three parts. The first is the 157-mile section from Pocahontas to St. Paul. The second is an 86-mile loop through the counties of Russell, Scott, Lee and Wise which starts and ends in St. Paul. The third section is a 68-mile loop that starts at the City of Norton and travels through the counties of Wise and Lee, ending back at the City of Norton.

INVENTORY: An inventory of all coal-related sites is noted in “red” on the attached spread sheets. Highlighted in blue are suggested side trips. There are over 50 coal-related sites to see along the 157-mile byway from Pocahontas to St. Paul and another 30 coal-related sites along the 68-mile stretch of road following the “City of Norton Loop”. Noted in “blue” font is a description of the road one is traveling. And noted in “purple” are recommendations and suggestions. “Green” denotes the location of byway confirmation signs. And sections highlighted in yellow notes a turn in the route.

Over the next two to three weeks, we will be adding this information to the website along with the coordinating photos. We are also in the process of writing the sections of the CMP pertaining to the description and significance of the area, inventory of the route and existing conditions. It is time to hold a follow-up town meeting in which this information may be shared with those along the route for their input to help us note areas of significance we might have overlooked or those areas that need signage for interpretation, and other issues and concerns. This meeting will also begin incorporating their ideas and suggestions towards the goals, objectives and strategies of the initiative which will be incorporated into the plan.

NEXT PUBLIC MEETING: It was our original intent to hold a total of four public meetings of which the first was held at Southwest Community College. This was an excellent initial meeting and I thank all who helped make it a success. But, having now driven the route and after meeting with a number of people, WMTH would like to make the following suggestion:

WMTH would like to hold a series of 8 to 12 town meetings over a four to five day period in September in which we would meet with individuals from specific sections along the route. We feel this one-on-one is crucial to obtaining public support for adoption of the Corridor Management Plan once it is completed. Pocahontas has already requested a town meeting in their community and I see this as a very positive move on their part. We would like to hold a second town meeting possibly in the Richlands area drawing people from the Bluefield/Tazewell area to Jewel Ridge.

We would like to hold another meeting in Buchanan County and also one in Dickenson County (most likely in Haysi). We would like to hold one in St. Paul and Scott County for those along the St. Paul Loop section as well as one in either Norton, Appalachia, Big Stone Gap or Pennington Gap representing the Norton Loop. If there is interest, we would like to also hold a town meeting in Dante, Jewell Ridge, Keokee inviting the communities of Exeter, Imboden and St. Charles to attend as well as others along the route.

WMTH Corporation would be happy to set up the meetings in each of the communities if the Advisory Council might provide a primary contact if they know one for each of the areas. It means a lot more time commitment on the part of WMTH Corporation but we feel this is crucial to the success of the initiative and to gain public buy-in from each of the communities. Everyone must feel they had a part in the final plan or at least had the opportunity to participate.

ACTION: Does this sound okay to everyone? If so, we need to begin immediately to set up meetings with each of the communities. If all are in agreement, to stay on the time schedule laid forth, we would like to hold the next set of town meetings during the third or fourth week in September.

VISIT TO RICHMOND: Last week I drove to Richmond and met with Erica Jeters who currently oversees the Byway Program for the State of Virginia as well as a major portion of the Transportation Enhancement Program. She and I had a wonderful discussion and I appreciate Randy Rose for keeping her and others in transportation well informed. It made the visit go quite well. She is very supportive of the initiative and will work with us throughout the entire process as best she can so that when the corridor management plan is complete and we begin writing the proposal for scenic byway designation, we will have the support of the Virginia Byway Program.

July 29, 2010

Virginia Coal Heritage Trail Meeting Minutes

First Public Meeting - 5:30 PM - 7 PM

WMTH Corporation is a certified DBE.