Scenic Overlook Of Black Mountain Delayed

Scenic Overlook Of Black Mountain Delayed


October 31st, 2002, 3:11 pm #1

[Moderator Note: I am the Highpointers Club advocate for Black Mountain. I am glad to see the Hands Across the Mountain people get publicity. We have discussed them extensively in 1999 during the battle over access to the Kentucky summit. The overlook which is to be in Virginia is being blocked by Penn Virginia Coal Company which owns the summit. The issue of mining rights to the summit was settled in 2000 when Kentucky bought the rights to the summit. However this did not affect Virginia where this turnout is proposed. As a note you still must sign a waiver to cross private property to the Black Mountain summit]
This appeared in the Oct. 31 Coalfield Progress
By JENAY TATE, Coalfield Progress Editor and Publisher

An overlook and wayside park they [Hands Across the Mountain] want to build atop Black Mountain, which is the bridge between Kentucky and Virginia, would be a shining example of the Hands mission.

That is, if it ever happens. The struggle to develop an overlook on the mountain has been ongoing for several years.

Another Hands annual meeting passed Oct. 24 without the group being able to report that the path has been cleared to the scenic overlook on Kentucky's highest mountain. From there, travelers would have a spectacular view across five mountain ranges.

The latest wrinkle is a dispute between the Virginia Department of Transportation, which would own the overlook property, and Penn Virginia Resources Corp., which agreed to tender the deed to VDOT but with language the agency has rejected.

Hands secretary/treasurer Sandra Riggs told members at Thursday's meeting in Benham that Penn Virginia and VDOT are trying to work out a solution. But Riggs said she believes Hands is "going to have to do what we didn't want to" - ask political leaders to intercede and try to get the matter resolved and the scenic overlook underway.

Riggs said the project is ready to go to construction once the deed language is worked out.

After the meeting, Riggs said the sticking point in the deed has to do with VDOT wanting some guarantees about surface protection from mining at the overlook and wayside park. Penn Virginia is resisting, she said. In the past, the company has insisted it must look out for the best interests of its stockholders, she said.

Hands co-chair Stan Botts of Big Stone Gap told members a local Penn Virginia official advised him that day the company's stance has not changed.

"After that conversation today, it's probably time to give a little nudge," Botts said. "We've been waiting on parties to work a little more."

Bobbie Gothard, Hands co-chair from Lynch, said the group "didn't want to put any pressure on Penn Virginia but we may have to seek a little assistance. If we don't act quickly we will lose our grant."
More ... =461&rfi=9


October 31st, 2002, 3:20 pm #2

The Coalfield article also noted this:

[Hands Across the Mountain] had a successful spring clean up on Black Mountain where roughly 30 volunteers committed about 100 man-hours and picked up 57 bags of litter. Fred Hall reminded members that the fall clean up was set for Oct. 26. In the first cleanup five years ago, Gothard noted, volunteers picked up 100 bags in the first mile. During the last cleanup, they could pick up 100 bags. "It's gotten better," she said. ... =461&rfi=9

Hands does not have a website per se but here is info:
Hands Across the Mountain, Inc.
P O Box 568
Appalachia, VA 24216

Telephone Numbers and Contact Information
(276) 523-2319 Intake
[][/url] Email

Operating Agency: Hands Across the Mountain, Inc.
Person in charge: Dr. Stanley H. Botts, Jr.Virginia Co-Chair
Hours of operation: Hours vary.
Fees: $5/yr membership fee.
Eligibility requirements: Must be 18 years of age or older.
Intake Procedure: Must submit an application.
Area Served: Southwest Virginia.
About the program: Purpose: A volunteer organization dedicated to the cleanup and enhancement of Southwest Virginia and Southeast Kentucky.

Here is a pdf file on its history in 1999 and 2000 ... Review.pdf

Here is a pdf file on its mission statement: ... tement.PDF


November 5th, 2002, 9:26 pm #3

Gee, what are they putting in these bags? When we were there in May, the only litter we were finding were outdated soda can tab pulls. We thought Black Mountain was getting alot of bad press.
Are they raking up the fallen leaves and hauling them away. Or are they using small bags - therefore requiring using more bags.


November 6th, 2002, 3:04 pm #4

Maybe you visited shortly after they did the Spring cleanup.

Charlie & I decided to go pick up trash along a county road we live near. Along with 6 other people, we managed to pick up 27 bags of trash along a 5 mile stretch of road. BIG bags. It's amazing how much stuff you can find in the weeds and ditches.