Essay

What is West Virginia Known For? 4 Things West Virginians Love About Themselves

Residents of every American region have special reasons to be proud of their hometowns. Certain states are well-known for their large, iconic cities, National Parks, or significant historical landmarks. Even said, there are still qualities that people adore about their home state in the regions of the nation that lack such traits. We shall learn four qualities about West Virginians that they adore about themselves and their state in this article. Now let’s move!

1. West Virginians Love Outdoor Activities

Both locals and tourists to this Appalachian state adore the wealth of outdoor adventure options available here. If West Virginia is recognized for anything, it’s its hiking, breathtaking mountain vistas, countless miles of mountain biking and running trails, striking caverns, free-climbing-friendly rock outcroppings, and rushing rivers that are great for white water rafting.

Indeed, West Virginia boasts amazing natural scenery. There are many of state and local parks to choose from, as well as those in New River Gorge National Park. There are miles of footpaths in West Virginia along the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail, which runs through the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia. But hiking the Appalachian Trail, or “AT,” is only one of the numerous opportunities to take in West Virginia’s natural splendor.

Others enjoy taking in the breathtaking gorges of the Gauley River, which is a great place to do white water boating. The West Virginia portion of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a great route for history buffs to explore. A lengthy portion of this route passes through West Virginia and traces the paths taken by the 1803–1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition. Whatever your passion or preferred outdoor activity, there’s probably something in West Virginia for you to do.

2. There Are Plenty of Natural Resources in West Virginia

Natural resource extraction, particularly the mining of coal, has played a significant role in West Virginia’s economy and society since the middle of the 19th century. The move toward using cleaner, more efficient, and less harmful energy resources has resulted in a fall in mining in West Virginia throughout the past few decades. West Virginia’s labor markets and economy have altered as a result. The lives of the miners and their families have been drastically affected by this. Nevertheless, West Virginia continues to rank among the country’s top producers of coal. According to 2020 data, 9.2% of West Virginians claim to have worked in the coal mining sector at some point in their lives.

Research indicates that the self-reported health of coal miners is lower than that of non-miners. It is undeniable that coal mining negatively affects the environment. On the other hand, mining has influenced West Virginia’s industry and culture, for better or worse. It fueled the Industrial Revolution and the growth of the US economy as a whole.

West Virginia also boasts an abundance of natural resources, including natural gas, oil, and salt deposits.

3. West Virginia is Completely within the Appalachian Mountain Range

As previously indicated, hikers seeking outdoor adventure can take in West Virginia’s breathtaking scenery by following the Appalachian Trail, which spans from Maine to George. But did you know that the only state totally contained within the Appalachian Mountain range is West Virginia? Actually, these mountains define the state’s topography, and West Virginia is the cultural center of the “rural Appalachian” region. This truth gave rise to West Virginia’s fitting moniker, “Mountain State.” West Virginia’s unique nickname is a result of its location fully within the Appalachian Mountains, which also explains the state’s distinct cultural past.

The term “Appalachian culture” refers to a way of life that originated in states like West Virginia when immigrants from Scotland and Ireland settled in rural, mountainous regions that were cut off from the rest of the country’s culture but were still home to Native Americans. With the development of its own folk customs, music, cuisine, arts, and ideals, Appalachian culture emerged. Separation from the larger American life, familial bonds, and adherence to cultural traditions are strongly valued in many Appalachian villages. The cornerstones of West Virginians’ social lives in isolated Appalachian villages are frequently kinship (family) ties, self-sufficiency, and respect.

4. Among the States with the Most Forests Is West Virginia

It’s possible that West Virginians may tell you that their state has some of the highest percentages of forest cover of any state in the union. It is actually the third most forested region right now, and it is well-known for having a lot of woods and protected places. In West Virginia, forests occupy approximately 45% of all acres and contribute to approximately 2.5% of the nation’s total timberland. As a result, the economic and larger biological systems of West Virginia depend heavily on the state’s forests.