Ed Wiley on Brushy Fork: “The whole area was full of laurels, the bears had tunnels through them.”

“It was like an annual bear gathering up there,” Ed Wiley told me, referring to Coal River Mountain’s Brushy Fork area, at the time of this interview. That part of the mountain is now home to the largest earthen dam in the Western Hemisphere– filled with 7 billion gallons of toxic coal slurry.

The area Ed speaks of here was not only a stretch of incredibly biodiverse mixed mesophytic forest, but also part of the Coal River Valley’s cultural memory, a well-known hunting and adventure ground. Prior to the dam’s construction in 1995 old, dense, hardwoods and thickets of laurels covered Brushy Fork, surrounding a tributary– now lost– that fed in to the Little Marsh Fork.

Wiley begins by telling us about the Amble Rock, where each July one could watch black bears congregate. He then discusses the loss of animal and plant habitat on the mountain, connecting the struggle to end MTR in Appalachia with wider ecological threats, including mass die-offs of honeybee populations.

15 Replies to “Ed Wiley on Brushy Fork: “The whole area was full of laurels, the bears had tunnels through them.””

  1. I think the point Ed is making in this video is that the area of old, dense woods where the bears gathered each summer is now a 7 BILLION GALLON SLUDGE POND. The land does not exist anymore, you may see bears around that area, but not there.

  2. And I’m quite sure that where he lives there used to be alot of ants, trees, bushes, etc. But no more, because people needs a means to survive, such as housing and a way to care for their families. There are other jobs around that pay decent, coal mining isn’t the only thing, but it is what we do. Not because we are forced to, but because we like to do it. You all are trying to take food out of peoples mouth and money out of their pockets because of the bullshit that you have been told. Heres an idea, how about the “activists” from other states get out and talk to the majority of people in these communities and see the big picture. We like to mine coal! The ones that mine probably do get frustrated with their job every once in a while, but all in all we like it and it’s what we are GONNA do!

  3. Buddy, I think you really need to speak for your self. My whole family works in the coal industry, and I used to too, and the majority of them with they could do something that didn’t contribute to the destruction of the area where they grew up and where they used to hunt and gather ramps, and ginseng and all of that. Maybe instead of bitching on the internet about how people need to talk to folks in the community, you need to. Maybe then you could get your head out of your ass and realize what the coal industry is doing to us int he area is wrong. That’s right, they’re even doing you wrong, if you’re really from here you would hate to see the destruction of this place with everything you have, like many strip-miners I know do.

  4. motherfucker you worked at dairy queen as an ice cream bitch, so what the hell are you talking about??? And aren’t you only 18-20??? Not much time in the mine, eh? I live in the Coal River area, and none of my neighbors have any problem with mining. Take a fuckin pole up and down the river and get the real results. You, Bo webb, Vernon, Judy, Lorelie or whatever the fuck her name is are really just a handful of people who bitch. The rest come from out of state, hence all the ones that got arrested this week where all from other states. All of the cars at skankville USA (behind lloyds) are from hmmmm, OUT OF STATE! Every mountain in WV HAS NOT BEEN STRIPPED like you all make it out to sound! Just like you all portray Massey as a bad company that puts profit over miners is bullshit! AN INDEPENDENT POLE (not Massey sponsered) shows that 91% of Massey employees believe otherwise! They believe that SAFETY IS FIRST at Massey Energy.

    But anyhow, if your family is against mining, why don’t they leave the profession? If they are so worried about the environment, go find one of these eco-friendly high paying windmill jobs you all talk about??? Or what about DQ, they hire all the time!

  5. We’re the handful of people who bitch because we’re the handful of people who are in the position where we can bitch. If any of the Massey employees that I know spoke their minds they would be fired on the spot. Do you honestly think Massey workers would answer that pole with the way they actually thought? I know quite a few folks who just answered the way they knew their bosses wanted them to for fear of losing their jobs if they really said what was on their minds. Oh, and nice insult with the “ice cream bitch” thing, I got a kick out of that, but at least I’m man enough to say what I have to say and put my face and name to it, I can’t really say the same for you.

  6. “76 percent said ‘no’ when asked, ‘Are you afraid of being disciplined or fired if you raise safety concerns?'” That means that 24% had the courage to say the DID fear being disciplined or fired. Not something to brag about.

  7. It was an anonymous pole, no names anywhere on the paper! LOL, just because I don’t have the extra time for a facebook isn’t my problem! And again, since your family and yourself are soooo against mining, getcha a job with the windmills! BTW Junior, where did you get your many years of mining experience??? And vernal, the 24% shouldn’t be scared! We are encouraged at anytime to report dangerous conditions or practices! We even have a 1-800 number that doesn’t ask for any names, etc. We even have an e-mail account to report stuff!!! I speak my mind when something comes up or when they ask my truthful opinion and I’m still there!!!

    PS— you know me Junior, you know we well…. Just think about it a little!

  8. And Junior and Vernon or vernal/vanerial whatever you prefer these days…..

    When are you all gonna make the “ultimate environmentalist sacrifice” and chain yourself to a piece of equipment, or sit up a tree for a week or 2??? I’ll give these kids you all bring in credit, they have courage, maybe too much and I think it will catch up with them one day…. I hope it doesn’t end in death, but this is getting to the point where it is toooo dangerous!

    Have a nice day!!! 😉 🙂

  9. I never said that I had “Yeas of mining experience” But I did work at Elk Run for a little While, and then I was a security guard at Raven Crest in Ashford. If I know you then stop hiding behind a screen name and use your real name. You don’t have to have time for Facebook to type out your name in the “name” section.

  10. Brushy, they grab these young kids before they have to experence real world employment and fill their head full of bull!!!! . Why do you think they are always speaking at colege campuses spouting their propaganda. Then they stand back and encourage these young kids break the law and risk their lives at these “actions” in very dangerous places. Sooner or later one of these kids is going to be injured or killed and their parents will demand the parties responsible pay. As for revealing you’re rean name, stick to you’re guns, it keep’s em guessing and besides, it helps hone their fishing skills……Watching, as always …..Watcher.

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