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Page 17 of Mountain Life & Work vol. 04 no. 2 July, 1928

Part of Mountain Life and Work

July, 192$ MOUNTAIN LIFE AND WORK Page 1? TAINS. Twenty years ago there were very few miles of improved road in the mountain ends of the Southern Appalachian states. Today every mountain county seat in North Carolina and Tennessee is reached, in most cases from two or more directions, by hard surfaced state-maintained highways. In Virginia only two or three counties are not so served; and while Kentucky is lagging behind somewhat, great improvement has been made in road construction. The ten poorest counties of Virginia have an aggregate of 310 miles of improved highway built and maintained by state and Federal aid, Tennessee's ten poorest counties have 225 miles of such road, while North Carolina, first to start in its road-building program, has constructed 500 miles in its ten poorest mountain counties. This total mileage of 1,035 miles represents a cost of at least twenty-five million dollars. This investment is bringing good interest by providing marketing facilities for farm and forest products, by affording work during construction and in maintenance, and, more than all, in attracting tourists into this beautiful region for summer vacations and weekend trips. INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENTS. The coal deposits of the Plateau belt afford the greatest single source of mineral wealth at the present time. The railways that have penetrated this region in Kentucky along the valleys of the Cumberland, Kentucky and Big Sandy rivers, have brought large coal developments to eight of the mountain counties that a short time ago were held in poverty because of the fact that their wealth was of a type capable of development only by capital and complex producing and distributing organizations. Limited areas in weAofn Virginia and eastern Tennessee likewise pro duce coal. This region is also rich in fire clay, oil, and gas. The Newer Folded belt is rich in marbles and bauxite, with some zinc and copper, while the Older Folded belt has granite, mica, and other minerals. The forests of this region have always been a most important source of income, and should continue to be. Vast areas are unfit for anything else, and the sooner these areas are taken over by the state and Federal governments for forest reservations, the better for the entire region, economically and socially. Already considerable progress has been made in this line in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Two secondary results will follow this forest development of almost as great a value as the primary one of timber production. The first is as a means of floodcontrol and stabilization of power. The second is the removal of population from the regions where a satisfactory economic basis for life is impossible. The narrow valleys and higher slopes constitute the "slum regions" of the mountains, and government forests constitute about the only way of breaking them up and stopping their pernicious social influence. Already the development of these natural resources, together with the water power and timber of the rigion, has begun to make of the Southern mountains an industrial area of firsts importance. M i n i n g towns and villages have sprung up during the past two decades where the quiet, isolated, ultra rural life of the moun tain valleys had been the order for genera t i o n s. Manufacturing plants in great variety are coming into the valleys of eastern Tennessee and western Virginia and North Car olina. On the Holston r i v e r, at Kingsport Tennessee, an important branch of the Eastman Kodak Company, a great printing and Today and Tomorrow

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