Years ago I hated the mere mention of strip mining, but it was mostly because of the way it was done.
All the overburden was simply shoved over the hill. Everything was rooted out of the way to get to the precious seams of coal, sometimes even cemeteries. There was no respect for anyone or anything and ugly scars were left around the mountainsides.
A mountain and its trees can never be restored to their original contours no matter how the stripping is done, but due to advanced reclamation procedures, things don’t look near as bad as in times past. When the reclaiming is finished now it usually leaves behind valuable and usable land, which was often worthless before it was stripped.
A lot of wildlife habitat is destroyed in the process, but other habitat is also created, such as grazing land. In some places we have rather large herds of elk, which seem to thrive on these reclaimed sites.
Some of the smaller critters, such as turkey, ducks, geese, rabbits and even young deer and elk, don’t stand much of a chance for survival because of so many coyotes, which seem to multiply like cats, especially stray cats. Not to mention all the stray dogs that seem to run in packs and are often vicious predators, especially if they are hungry.
As for elk, on a reclaimed strip job at Vest in Knott County, you can see herds of 50 or more. Sure would make some mighty good eating if a fellow could get a chance to get one to put in the freezer. I can’t hunt anymore, but that doesn’t keep me from wishing. Many elk are larger than cattle, so you can imagine what a pile of meat one would make.
And that reminds me, I have figured out why I am so short of breath. I have got ‘chest of drawers disease.’ My chest has fallen into my drawers.
And that’s all from the funny farm until next time.