Telling Appalachia’s Story

cropped-barrick-headshot-june-8-2019I’m Michael Barrick of Lenoir, N.C. A West Virginia native, I’ve spent my whole life (well, not yet) in Appalachia – except for being trapped in Charlotte, N.C. for six years until I found I-77 and headed north, back home, and then back to Western North Carolina. It’s a long story after that. Which leads me to … if you are interested in stories about Appalachian people working in the creative and performing arts, environmental activism, historical preservation and generally working to preserve our sacred mountains, keep reading!

I have not abandoned hope that we can return our region to one that is at peace, not divided by partisan fanaticism. It is my experience that the best way for that to happen is for the performance and creative arts to thrive. Indeed, they “Ignite the Spirit of Peace.” The arts are the universal language.

Sweet Springs Resort

There are others as well – those working to preserve some of the region’s most precious resources – the people, the mountains, air, streams, and rich collection of historical buildings such as those in the Springs areas of the Virginias.

We operate out of Lenoir and Sweet Springs Resort Park in Monroe County, W.Va, near the Virginia line (above is the resort, designed by Thomas Jefferson). We also operate out of Lewis County, W.Va. so that we can provide coverage for Southern and Central Appalachia, in particular on the fossil fuel industry.


  1. Dear Michael, Have you heard of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)? They have been building a movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature, the disregard for both of which is at the heart of the current state of affairs. I just received this newsletter from them. Website http://www.celdf.org. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on their approach by return email.


    We are pleased to announce that CELDF received a grant from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) in support of CELDF’s work to build a movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature. Thank you, LDF! Check out LDF’s work here, and see CELDF highlighted here.


    Athens County, OH, residents were victorious in a recent challenge to their community rights county charter initiative. Facing unprecedented volumes of fracking wastewater and the loss of clean water due to fracking, residents are working to create a county charter containing a Community Bill of Rights to establish the right to “direct democracy” through initiative and referendum powers, and ban fracking and its infrastructure. The Board of Elections attempted to block the proposed measure, and CELDF successfully defended the people’s right to place the measure on the ballot. Read more here.


    This month, CELDF travels to the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina off the coast of Colombia. The Raizal people of the islands are allying with CELDF to advance their right to self-determination and the rights of nature. Read more about the threat they face from oil exploration, and their history of struggle for self-determination, here.

    Thank you,

    All of us at CELDF
    PO Box 360
    Mercersburg, PA 17236

  2. I am dismayed – very – that you are ceasing publication. You write wonderfully – such good insight and just the right touches of humor – and your love for Appalachia shines through. I don’t know how blogs actually work – but if there is any way to access everything you’ve written, online or in print, please – please – advise. – Nancy in WV

  3. Mike, did you happen to graduate from WI in Clarksburg? Class of 1974. This is Kim Simpson. I graduated with a Mike Barrick, and see a resemblance. Very nice article on April – I just spent the weekend with her and Kevin 3 weeks ago. We felt it wouldn’t be long, and my daughter called me yesterday with the news. She’s around, I feel it, and you are correct in everything you said.

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