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Posts Tagged ‘mountains

Greenbriar River Bike Trail, West Virginia

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Greenbriar River, West Virginia

Crossing the river on the Greenbriar Trail. Image from www.local.wv.gov

Crossing the river on the Greenbriar Trail. Image from http://www.local.wv.gov

 

Cruise along the Greenbriar River Bike Trail and you ride the roadbed of steel rails that no longer exist.  Building bike trails on railway beds creates an easy gradient for cyclists, with smooth climbs, easy descents.

The Greenbriar River Trail runs beside the river of the same name for a stretch of 77 miles (124 km) from the settlement of Cass to North Caldwell.  One hundred years ago the towns along this railway line were active, the communities thriving, or even bustling fueled with enterprising immigrants from faraway countries and newly or almost-free slaves from the nearby Southern states.  Proclamations and edicts such as the end of slavery in the U.S. may have been issued, but the reality of freedom would need decades for real effect.  All along the river, people made a living harvesting local resources  for those who owned land — cutting trees, mining coal and grinding corn on water mills. And the resources rolled on the river or the railways to markets in other places.

Imagine what an amazing network would exist if every decommissioned stretch of railway in North America was converted to a bike trail!  We could bike safely across the continent, easy peasy!

Don’t forget to wear blaze orange or hot pink jackets or vests during hunting seasons in West Virginia.  When I rode this trail a stretch of months ago, I could hear hunters taking pot shots in the woods.  Did they know the bike trail exists?

Wikipedia states “the Greenbrier is the longest untamed (unblocked) river left in the Eastern U.S.”  which is a sad thing to learn.  Culverts, dams, spills, canals, diversions steal the vitality of the other long rivers in the Eastern U.S.

 

Written by patwa

09/09/2015 at 1:01 am

Who owns your water?

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Water privatization hasn’t been explored much in the general consumer media in the US, although there are articles in the scientific and water industry press.  Water privatization generally refers to private contract operations of water systems owned by public utilities, however a few municipal water systems are moving to private ownership, usually when a corporation can provide economic incentives to a community that can be used for other expenses such as schools, parks, etc. in exchange for managing/partially owning a water system.

A cursory glance at the topic on the internet reveals that water privatization is a fundamental issue for the anti-government fringe by whatever fanciful name is currently in vogue — Tea Party, Tory Party, Whigs, Tipacanoe and Tyler Too?  The No Nothing Party has the right name.

U.S. water privatization is on the waste water side, especially municipal waste water systems.

One outstanding example of a private water system is in Auburn, Alabama.  Set up in the early 1980’s before changes to the tax law in 1986 killed private initiative investments, Auburn’s water system has been studied by universities, used as a model of successful privatization of public works.  Indianapolis, Indiana  is another waste water system operated on a contract basis, with private investment.  U.S. municipalities embracing privitization include Syracuse, N.Y. , Georgetown, Kentucky, Coral Gables, Fl. and Santa Margarita, Calif.

Currently,  U.S. municipalities are underfunded for infrastructure (including water systems) maintenance,  investment and repairs so they are encouraging private investment to fill the breach.  Multinationals  — particularly French and British water companies — are aggressively looking for water utilities to manage on a contract basis with a view to partial or full ownership in the future.

It would be useful for people in the U.S. to know who owns their local waste water operations and water supply systems.  There may be public-private arrangements where a local government council sets regulations, but who picks up the profit on your flush? Entrepreneurial operators are making an impact as their contract operations managers save money through economies of scale and engineer water plants to work more efficiently.

Written by patwa

01/04/2013 at 6:30 pm

My Books

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Book CoverTravel Writing by L Peat O'Neil

Book Cover
Travel Writing by L Peat O’Neil

E-Books are just right for travel -lightweight, nearly infinite, a library in your hand.

If you plan to buy books, try my web-store, Double00Books!  Use the Search function to find any Amazon title.

Pyrenees Pilgrimage Cover The Way

Pyrenees Pilgrimage, my recent book about walking across France alone, is also for sale in Kindle format on Amazon.  

Prefer a paperback edition?  Pyrenees Pilgrimage on walking across France alone is ready to read, available on Amazon.

Recent interview on my Travel Writing experiences on Money for Travel.com  with Canadian inspirational speaker John Beede.

Get started in travel writing with Travel Writing: See the World, Sell the Story.  Signed copies available from the author on Half.com

Wish You Were Here article in Writer’s Digest Magazine May/June, 2011 on travel writing tips and tricks.Travel Writing pb edition cover

A few copies of Travel Writing : A Guide to Research, Writing and Selling are available online.

You are welcome to visit and subscribe to my websites and  blogs —   AdventureTravelWriter.org  *   FranceFootsteps

NoWhiteFood   *    MexicoEducation  *   OpenGrave    *   WorldReader   *   PyreneesPilgrimage

*   Writing Wild NatureWriting

 

Interviews + Publicity About L Peat O’Neil
 

This Mountain :: That Border

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Llivia is a town under Basque Spanish jurisdiction yet  it is completely surrounded by France.

Andorra is another Pyrénées Mountain region divided between France and Spain during 1276, as part of feudal settlement by the Bishop of Urgell and the Count of Foix. Their political descendants were the Kings of France and in current times, the President of the Republic of France.

Border specifics might not always be clear to the people, herds and horsemen in the area.  Thousands of French troops migrated into Spain from the early decades of the 1800’s onward, starting but not limited to Napoleon’s invasion.  Warning shouts and, if not heeded, shots, kept the traders and contraband runners inside the border lines of their respective countries.

19th c. Royalist France was trying to shut out disease (cholera) and liberal ideas.  Earlier,  Napoleon was bent on keeping France free of English colonial resources and soldiers. The area remained a hot spot, disputed particularly because surveyors and political forces didn’t know where one mountain range left off and the next began.  What appeared to some observers as the northerly edge of  the Pyrenees was actually the Corbieres range running from Narbonne on the Mediterranean coast, south west towards the Ariege.  Constant battling and raiding caused village administrative and legal records or archives to be looted and burned.  Sometimes there was intentional looting of church ledgers and records during anti-clerical phases, where many demographic records were recorded.

Written by patwa

26/05/2011 at 6:02 pm

Alone in the Mountains

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What was that sound?  Is that a wild animal up ahead?  Or just an oddly shaped fallen tree branch. Steady, now.  You’re safer here in the mountains than in most places in the world, as long as you keep your head cool and mind where you step.

Death by Hiking is pretty rare.  Usually, fatalities are associated with falls or exposure. Typically, an unfortunate outcome is related to lack of adequate equipment or clothing, lightening strike, dehydration, hypothermia or lack of experience.

I’m reading my former colleague Chip Brown’s fascinating book Good Morning Midnight – Life and Death in the Wild about intentional death in the White Mts.  Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild is another gripping account of what can go wrong in the mountains.

Safety tips for hiking alone.

Written by patwa

08/02/2010 at 9:38 pm

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