An increasing number of communities are seeing their lush, beautiful surroundings as an opportunity for sustainable growth. The Clinch River Valley Initiative, based in Southwest Virginia, is one of them. The Initiative has been working with a diverse coalition of area residents, businesses and organizations to create a plan for the area focused on making the Clinch River Valley a prime outdoor recreation and cultural destination.
Though we often hear in the coalfields that job creation and environmental protection are two things that can’t happen at the same time, a growing coalition of individuals and organizations believes that the Clinch River—one of the most biodiverse river systems in North America—could itself be the backbone of a brand-new economy in Southwest Virginia. From the Feb. 28 edition of WMMT’s Mountain News & World Report, we bring you this report on the Clinch River Valley Initiative, a in innovative, multi-dimensional approach to economy-building in the Southwest Virginia coalfields.