What A River DID NOT mean to me!

Ben Pinti | Bridgeport, WV

I now live in Michigan where many of our rivers are healthy enough to provide habitat for birds and wildlife and recreation. I often fish, hike, hunt and swim on rivers in Michigan.

However, I grew up in WV, in a family that did not have a lot of income to travel to more clean environments so leisure time was spent around home. My home river for fishing and summer recreation like swimming should have been the local creek, Simpson Creek. But the banks and tributaries of Simpson Creek were mined heavily for coal! Sure, some local people were employed, and several millionaires were created to take that coal and destroy a river in the process that should have given children like myself at the time a place to fish, hunt and swim. The acid drainage from the mines made that river run the color of orange at times, the fish probably started to die off in the 1950’s shortly after the mines and strip mines that would come a little later and continue to destroy the river’s watershed.

When it come to rivers, the government needs to step up with laws that protect them, they should run clean all the way from the headwaters to the ocean. Without laws or other protections business will continue to operate at the most profitable level and few companies will protect rivers if not legally bound to do so!

So, this is a story of what a river did NOT provide because it was NOT protected. Only the profits of the takers were protected. Who knows the level of disease that Simpson Creek instilled upon its resident for all those years? As surely the acid and other pollutants that the mining was not regulated to keep out of the river ended up in the body and lungs of the children that lived upon the river’s bank.

So, children that should have enjoyed a clean environment to live and play in were subject to an environment that probably resulted in some of them with increase risk of lung disease and cancer!

If you have a minute please listen to a song called “Simpson Creek” (Will Never Run Clean Again) on youtube! The singer/writer Mayf Nutter also grew up on the banks of Simpson Creek!

So, YES protect as many rivers as we can as scenic rivers but all rivers need to be protected! Water is vital to our survival!

Support the protection of 5,000 new miles of wild and scenic rivers