I would like to point out a few things to Teresa Caruthers [letters, Aug. 25].

My mom, a coal miner's daughter, grew up in West Virginia. My grandfather worked in the mines and was severely injured in an accident. As difficult as his life was, the alternative was worse. Ms. Caruthers seems to think he could have made a living as a wilderness guide or maybe by guarding the fences she wishes would encircle her "national monument to be preserved for its beauty and culture."

Yes, West Virginia is beautiful, but not much grows in its rocky soil, and it's too far from the ocean, big cities and the seat of government to benefit much from trade. How are people supposed to make a living in the absence of mining, logging or drilling?

If, as Ms. Caruthers admitted, economic devastation ensues when mines close, why is she so sure things will be better with no mines?

Also, why do people who want to wall off huge parcels of land want the government to do it? Why don't they get like-minded people to buy the land and protect it themselves? The reason is that private enterprise doesn't believe there is a sustainable economic future in fencing off land and letting it sit so do-gooders can come around every once in a while and ooh and aah and then go back home to their jobs.


Silver Spring