New River Gorge: Appalachia’s Newest National Park


Listen Now!

Use the links below to jump to open this episode on your favorite podcast platform.

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts
Podcast Addict
Overcast Radio
Radio Public

Chuck Corra 00:38
Anyway, I feel like we have to start out like It’s a new year. It’s a new everything. This episode is about the New River Gorge. What is new for you? Big John, surprisingly, I thought when 2022 2021 everything would be different. I just thought, first off, I thought I instantaneously become rich. I’d become powerful. I’d become a guy that, you know, all of a sudden got a million followers on Twitter. Nothing happened. So that was at best misguided.

Big John Isner 01:14
But I’m just you know, I’m grinding. I’m, I’m grinding right now trying to get through bar prep, which is terrible, but we’re gonna get there. But besides that, I can’t say there’s much difference. Well, did you have a good New Year’s? I should ask. I was gonna say Christmas. But then I realized that we’ve already had an episode since Christmas. So I’ll say Did you have a good New Year’s because I know some people that had a great New Year’s. I didn’t have as good of a New Year’s as they did. I’ll say that. Okay. Well, we’re gonna bust right into it because this is at the top of my mind. And I know it’s a top of yours. It’s at the top of clearly most people on Facebook, I guess.

Or at least in our circles. JOHN, I did not get an invite to the Greenbrier resort for New Year’s. If I had, I can confidently say that I wouldn’t have gone. An important note, the governor of West Virginia, the great Jim, sunshine skillet justice owns the Greenbrier as you know.

And it seems that his own resort was breaking protocol, with the state on their Coronavirus regulations, so to speak. And there was a video going around the internet of a ton of people partying there without masks, and I just want your reaction. I want a raw reaction from you for that new year started off, right. Jim justice always says how much he cares about the state and how much he cares about the people. But when it comes to his actions, and especially his businesses, he has proven that his words mean nothing.

He’s gonna I can guarantee you on Monday, which obviously this will air A day after, but Monday will be the first press conference that he has. And he’s going to say, Well, I don’t have control over the Greenbrier right now. And that’s a crock of it. That’s a crockpot. So we’ll rephrase this and say, you’re pretty sure that yesterday, he’s gonna say that? Pretty sure. Yeah, I’ve been going I will go on record and say, pretty sure yesterday, he says he doesn’t have control of Greenbrier especially when Phil is questioning him.

Big John Isner 03:44
So I did. So before we get into our actual subject, though, I did a little digging on this, because I wanted to see what the actual resort said. And kinda like how like, what do you have to do to get into this party? Did you have to take a COVID test? Did you have to be in a hazmat suit? You know, what was the deal? Did you have to give up your first child Trust Fund to get in? And mysteriously john, their website doesn’t have a lot of information about the New Year’s party. And now I don’t know if they do this for every event.

If they do, my bad, but it does seem kind of suspect that this huge event, one of the biggest that they typically have on a normal year, and I guess that a COVID here too, according to those that they wouldn’t have any information on it. But I used the Wayback Machine Of course. And I found out at least that it did cost $175 for a meal there. But one thing that they’re saying though, is that anyone entering the resort and this is actually still on the website. Anyone entering the resort will be required to complete a temperature screening and wear a face covering while indoors. Those with a temp above 100.4 degrees or those who refuse to wear a face-covering will be denied entry.

It is interesting that it says that because you’re required to wear a mask when you go in. But clearly, you’re not when you’re already in there and partying on a dance floor because even though it says you have to wear a face-covering indoors, so they weren’t following their own fucking guidelines to quote the governor of West Virginia. No, and this is, this is one of those things there has been Chuck

We posted this video that we got from this event. So if you’re if y’all haven’t watched it, you can go to any of our social media outlets and see what has actually been going on at the Greenbrier. But I’ve seen so many people try to protect Jim justice in the Greenbrier over this saying that they weren’t. It’s how are they to know that this many people would come or how, you know, how is Jim justice to house justice? Now what he’s not there? First off, Jim justice probably was there. I would, I would guess that he would if he wasn’t there, he was close by at his house in Lewisburg, because he was the dude who doesn’t stay at the governor’s mansion. It’s one of those things that you can go lookup. But he had everything to do with this.

Yeah, and that’s the thing here too is like I’m mad at Jim justice. I’m mad at the Greenbrier. I’m also mad at all of those people. Because Hell yeah, it’s those types of people. It’s those types of people that continue to make this pandemic worse because they have the self-righteous belief that their events are more important than the rest of our lives. It’s insane how these people will tout themselves as these like these Christians who, who believe in God and all of these other things, but then just treat other people like shit. Yeah, it’s it blows my mind every time and I’m not just characterizing people.

So I know what type of people that they were. It’s one of those things a man like this is it this pandemic has shown us exactly what type of people really are out there. Yeah, it is. And we cannot leave this, this subject without mentioning that this is an I don’t like to say the whole both sides thing because especially on the pandemic, it’s not both sides of the political aisle. However, in West Virginia, the Minority Leader of the goddamn West Virginia Senate, a Democrat, had possibly the worst response to this.

And look, you and I both said, we will call out people on any side of the political aisle on any side of the church aisle. You know, I don’t get it. We’ll call out the priest or the congregation, you know, but this like this, I want I know that you know this a little bit better than I do. But senator Stephen Baldwin is all right. Stephen Baldwin of Greenbrier County, I believe, the Minority Leader, newly elected Minority Leader of the West Virginia Senate, and when we say minority, I mean, they barely have anybody in there. It’s Democrat. Yeah, but his response, John, I don’t know if you haven’t pulled up, but boy, he has since taken it down. Let’s see. Can we get that? Yeah. One second. I’ll edit out the past. I’ve got it.

Well. Let’s all continue to work together for the good of our community. Well, and if you, I know that we’ve heard from some listeners that either work at the Greenbrier or have been following it or live around there, and their response to that was, uh, No, they haven’t been doing a good job for the past 10 months. Not a chance. Yeah, and that’s the least of that statement. But, you know, in Greenberg, Greenbrier County is one of the hardest-hit counties in the state. It’s been one of the red zones of the entire state of West Virginia who’s, who overall have done a terrible job during this pandemic, in terms of keeping numbers down.

Greenbrier is one of the largest employers of employers that county and they employ his wife. I mean, I get it. It sucks that he’s in that position. But Chuck, as you and I talked about, if you’re in a position, where there’s no right answer, don’t make a statement. Yeah, there’s that. And it’s also like, you’re setting petition. So I don’t really have sympathy for you if like you’re in a rock and a hard place.

So you’ve elected to make a difficult decision doesn’t matter. Well, who your family is, he’s also, that’s the other thing here. He also and that’s not how democrat acts, or at least not how they should. And I’ll say, when I ran for office, I really liked the things that that Senator Baldwin was saying, I thought he was doing a good job. I tend to agree with some you know, with most of his positions, this one I think, is just really bad.

Again, that second time that he posted, he again, protected the Greenbrier just really giving minimal effort at holding them to a simple standard. But the funny thing is, and this is where I’m going to be interested to see what happens when we posted that video check. And I think it’s up to like 85,000 views. If you go into the comments section, you’ll see a lot of West Virginia legislators making comments, and a lot of them are Senate members.

So my thing is, did he never did he not mentioned to the party that he was going to make this statement? And if so, what did the party say at that?

This is not a good start to 2021 this is a prime reason why they get their ass they have no party identity they’re not well, it’s pathetic But hey, you know what New Year new you New Year New Democrats who know I doubt it but we got to move on because you know we got more important stuff to talk about the Jim justices party palace, I guess. It’s a shame but that’s where we are in life.

Announcements: New patrons and more

Anyway, up. Actually, to be fair, if this is the most important part of announcements, we got new Patreon members, really excited to welcome in the new year with six new Patreon members, john, you want to list them off? Yeah, here we go. We’ve got Zach, Rebecca cat, Caitlin, Amanda, and Dustin, incredible that we continue to keep growing.

We’re so thankful for each and every person who is even willing to part with $1 of their hard-earned money. It really does mean a lot to us. Because every time we get like a Patreon notification, it’s one of those things like, wow, you know, I mean, it’s It doesn’t matter if it’s $1 or $5 $15. It’s just great to have people support, really cool. Every time I get a notification saying we get a new Patreon member is like the same feeling that I got in high school. When I found out somebody put me in their top eight on MySpace.

Yeah, that’s

Big John Isner 14:59
to date. The reference doesn’t carry the same feeling in the pit of my stomach of just delight and happiness and, and feeling like people care. So I’d love to see that’s fair.

I like that.

Big John Isner 15:12
And speaking of Patreon, again, if you’re interested in you can join for as little as a buck a month and get access to weekly exclusive. And there are other tiers there as well. We’re gonna be launching a newsletter this month, and we do exclusive video content for our $15 tier, which we’re launching this month as well.

So keep on the lookout for that. JOHN, my last announcement is just to remind our listeners that we are still keeping an eye on Queer Appalachia if you’ve been following this at all. We’ve been on their case to release financial records for a while if you aren’t familiar with this whole situation. I’ll link to it in the show notes. If you’re just joining us. Well, summer’s gone. So we’re in slash January right now. And we’ll be keeping up on that. And towards the end of this month. We’ll be checking back in with them. I’m not going to hold my breath.

Neither will I.

Anyway, moving on to the main meat and taters of this beautiful episode a new year, john? new National Park. This new river Gorge gorgeous short for gorgeous. That’s right. The New River Gorge was a National River. Now it’s going to be a National Park and Preserve huge news for West Virginia. But uh, for all of Appalachia, we got a lot of interest in this from listeners when we post about it.

A really big story coming out for the state and for the region, quite frankly. And so we’re gonna break it down, we’re going to talk about what this actually means. how it came to be the pros, the cons, we’re going to take you through it all. It’s a really interesting issue. We hope that you enjoy the New River Gorge.

That very famous for that iconic suspension bridge. If you flip over a state quarter for West Virginia, you’ll find it on the back there. Beautiful, beautiful area and Fayetteville, West Virginia. I’ve been whitewater rafting down the New River almost a dozen times. Golly, the river is another fun part of that, too. There’s a lot of climbing, rock climbing, hiking, they’re really just wonderful outdoor recreation area. And previously, before the signing of this major bill in Congress, it was a National River. So it’s still managed by the National Park Service.

Now, it’ll be a full-fledged National Park, the first one and West Virginia history, and the 63rd for the country. JOHN, before we get into the details, what was your kind of initial mood? What was your initial reaction to this news? It’s an art arch bridge, by the way. It’s an arch bridge.

That’s it’s not a suspension bridge. It’s an arch bridge, a bridge, a huge bridge, very famous, massive. Anyway, when first off when I first heard it came out, I didn’t know where it came from. At first, because it was just kind of random, then come to find out the source is something that we’ll talk about in a couple of minutes. But the initial reaction, great. You know, the New River Gorge to me deserves to be at that level. And the fact is that there’s only 63 of them. So I think the initial reaction, great thing.

Yep, same here. It is huge, it’s a huge deal. National Parks like that. They don’t come across very often. Don’t try to say. And so so this is I think a very big deal. You alluded to not knowing how it came to be, and neither did I initially.

And so this is kind of where we’ll start. This happened because at the end of this past year 2020 you’ll remember that year, there was both a Coronavirus relief package in Congress ignitor billion dollars in like that. And then at one point, I want to say $1.3 trillion appropriations bill that basically funded the government because, you know, we like to shut our government down Congress does and so we have to throw every single thing in the kitchen sink into a giant massive ass motherfucking metric ton of a funding bill at the end of the year, in order to you know, keep the lights on in this great country that we call America the greatest country in the world, as some would call it and so with that comes a lot of stuff.

Now, this is kind of weird kind of confusing. There are people that are way more qualified to explain this than I. But basically what this is, is Congress doesn’t get much done of substance throughout the year, or they should be getting more done with bills and everything, but they don’t. And so at the end of like, this year, or when it’s time to fund, the government, members of Congress will try to figure out a way to get their bills into this major spending bill, because it has to pass to must-pass legislation, you throw everything in there, and whatever stays in there goes into law, because you know, at the end of the day, the government has to be funded.

Okay. There is going to be a new Smithsonian Museum for the American, Latino, and a women’s history museum.

Okay. That’s pretty cool. pretty dope. Should have been in existence A long time ago, but great. It ended surprise medical billing, which hadn’t looked into it, but that objectively on its face is a good thing. I’d have Yeah, I mean, I’d have to look more into it. I don’t know exactly what the definition is out there. And, you know, here’s a really good one. This is really the rub of this bill, murder Hornet eradication pilot program. Finally, I’ve been pushing for this yet lobbying to get out of it. I wrote and wrote and wrote, I mean, I’m so thankful. I brought in a bunch of murder Hornets and released them. Yeah, show them how important it was. Like,

look at this, Mitch.

Chuck Corra 21:57
Each one of them was a registered lobbyist. Yeah, I

Big John Isner 22:00
mean, you won’t believe this. Well, I haven’t read much of this. But it does tend to suggest that this is being looked at as a concern which great wonderful maybe 2021 will be the year the murder Hornet. It wouldn’t shock me. Yep. Well, and unfortunately that bill, there were tons of corporate giveaways, including tax provisions that allow for $6.3 billion in tax write off for business meals, call it a three Martini lunch, three Martini lunch. Yeah, that’s what I like to call the mitch McConnell special.

Oh my God. He loves brunch. That guy is a brunch a Holic he is a brunch bitch. Mitch McConnell is definitely a brunch bitch.


That’s on facts.

Big John Isner 22:57
I suppose that’s interesting. Anyway, speaking of the sizzler going into the details on this the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is what it’s going to be called john. And for those of you listening at home that has the morbid curiosity of wanting to read the actual bill.

It is Section two, two on page 2543 of that ridiculously long bill. I will link to it if for whatever reason you want to go read it. But I’m going to give you the top line hits of this first of all obviously changes the name. It is going to be it used to be called the New River Gorge National River, which again was managed by the National Park Service. It is now going to be called the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, which will consist of a national park and National Preserve.

We’ll explain a little bit what that means here in a minute. But basically the details of this it creates a 65,000-acre preserve and a 7000 acre National Park. In the park. There’s no hunting or fishing. And for those of you especially who are familiar with the Fayetteville area, the National Park will be composed of the lower gorge Thurman Grandview and sandstone falls, and then the preserved part of it that 65,000 acres will allow for hunting and fishing. This also authorizes the National Park Service to bid on up to 3700 acres of additional land for the preserve.

It authorizes the Park Service to acquire up to 100 acres for parking only because they anticipate more people obviously wanting to come to visit and need more parking. And then there are a couple of other details here It keeps open 300 acres in the lower gorge for hunting and opens up an additional 368 acres and Grandview for hunting as well as a couple more details. But those are the big parts of this it’s doesn’t really fundamentally change the actual park or the actual area all that much. It just kind of like re it kind of rejigger is where what’s considered part of federal land and what’s not and then the does designations matter.

That would be what I would think would happen, which would be I mean, you can argue the pros and cons of that. But I’m always gonna argue that any place that needs jobs that can get it, it’s always, you know, most of the time a good thing unless you sell yourself other than if you sell your soul to the devil, then I don’t think you’re worried too much about this.

Yeah, I do agree, I think I think what they probably do with that 20% is they had some economics firm, run some numbers for them. You know, I think there’s a lot of variables there. Fayetteville, not the most accessible place to people outside of West Virginia. But who knows, maybe this will lead to more infrastructure development around there. That’s kind of been one of the problems about Appalachia, in general, especially in West Virginia is just like, it’s hard to get there. You know, it’s hard to get to parts of there.

There’s not a lot of rail service. There’s not a lot of airplane service, people either have to drive or figure something else out. No, I do know. Fayetteville is one of those towns too though. I know that we’re going to talk about some of the kind of downfalls but I did hear people talk a lot about how Fayetteville will change with this. Well, I’m sure we’ll get to it. But Fayetteville is one of those towns in West Virginia that seems to be creating its own identity, like a pretty cool identity, where they’re starting to see more small businesses pop up.

I think that’s also if I’m not mistaken, that’s where secret sandwich society was Fayetteville. So I’ve only heard good things about Fayetteville when it comes to visiting there. I’ve not been I will admit that. I yeah. Yeah, we’ll get into that too. I have been and we stayed at a bed and breakfast luckily at the county seat in and it was owned by a little lady named Miss Pat. And she was boss went there. It was a fantastic place.

We actually had to remind her that we knew we needed to pay for our room. Like she was like back cool. It was going awesome. So I hope Miss Pat is still around. She was amazing. Anyway, yeah. So we’ll get into that. One thing I did want to mention though before we get into sort of the pros and cons of this is it is important, the designation difference. It may seem like a small thing, but it does have certain implications.

So New River Gorge, which was and is managed by the National Park Service. The thing a lot of people don’t realize is there’s like 20 something different national parks designations. So for example, a New River Gorge is a National River. Cape Canaveral in Florida is a National Seashore. I think Mammoth Cave in Kentucky might actually be a national park but like Cuyahoga, or whatever, in or Shenandoah, Shenandoah is a national park in Virginia.

The Great Smoky Mountains is a national park and it crosses in between North Carolina, Tennessee, but then you have national monuments, you have national rivers, you have national battlefields, etc, etc, etc. So changing from a National River to a National Park and Preserve as an important national park-like we mentioned, that acreage you cannot do any hunting on. You cannot do any hunting or fishing. It severely limits consumptive activities like that.

As well as mining now on National Preserve that’s different. And in this case you there will be hunting and fishing permitted. And other activities can be permitted there as well such as oil and gas exploration, we can get into that. I don’t know that that’s necessarily going to change anything from the present day.

But that’s kind of the difference. So the big thing there is that that national park status on that roughly 7000 acres of land means that you can’t hunt or fish on that land and it’s protected. and managed by the National Park Service. That’s, that’s one dimension that. Yeah, I did see that a lot in the comments of our Instagram post when we first like, kind of said like it’s official New River Gorge is, you know, is a national park. There were people talking about hunting and fishing, that was kind of going back and forth on the pros and cons of that rule right there.

So that’s always an interesting thing. But there it is. Hunting is allowed on the outskirts of it right on the preserve portion, which is that 60 something odd 1000 acreage. Yeah, so I mean, there’s massive amounts still to hunt and to finish and to do all those things. I know that there were some people that were upset that it took away like the inside Park area. But I don’t know, I think the cost or the benefits outweigh the cost there. Yeah. Well, let’s talk about some of the benefits.

First, I think like the economic impact is something that’s cited a lot. And I think it’s important, I think, really here The question is to what degree obviously, this will boost tourism, I mean, no doubt, it’s just a matter of how much the thing is, is to this is really a this is a rebranding is is the big, kind of long and short of this. That’s why it was pushed for. And that’s huge national parks are visited so much more than any other national parks site, or national park type entity that’s managed by the National Park Service.

Like, I actually found a study on this, in fact, and I would like to cite a statistic for you, john, the number of visits is 21%, greater, First of all, five years after I read designation, then it compared to five years before, that’s just general stat. But total visits to national parks between 2000 to 2016, grew by 49%. Whereas visits to national monuments, for example, which is also managed by the National Park Service decreased by 3%. So over the past, almost two decades, National Park visitations have exploded. And having this label as a national park will make a difference without a doubt. And that’s a big deal. Again, though, I will emphasize how much difference I’ll make that is TBD.

Because it still effectively not a lot is really changing from a practical standpoint. Yeah, that’s fair. I mean, look, it’s I compare this to when Dwight Schrute was promoted from assistant to the regional manager, manager to assistant regional manager was a title change. Look, there’s a there’s a

Chuck Corra 32:45
reference to the office, the popular US television show,

Big John Isner 32:48
there was a title change, there was a three-month probationary period where Dwight couldn’t tell anyone. So I mean, there was plenty going on there. That’s what I think is going on with the New River Gorge here. There’s a title change. We don’t know exactly the benefits or, you know, in Dwight’s case, if he’s getting a pay raise, he didn’t. But I’m hoping that New River Gorge does because we want to see that economic boost. I think that the study shows that it’s going to be a good thing in terms of economics for the New River course

. And I don’t see why. I don’t see how it could be a negative in terms of economic impact. The only argument for that would be the hunting thing. But I and that would just I think that was de minimis at best. As far as economic impact, I think to one thing that was, I think important is kind of attracting people to come to the region. Because this is this like, what’s important to remember about national parks is that they have their impact spreads beyond the park.

So the perfect example is the Great Smoky Mountains, they straddle the line between North Carolina and Tennessee, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are two of the big kind of tourist areas that surround the Great Smoky Mountains, Knoxville as well, the larger states around there, the economic impact, and like just the money flow to those places is massive, it is absolutely massive.

And that’s why like it’s important for those places like Fayetteville, which is right next to the New River Gorge, and the areas surrounding that. And even their areas like an hour away from that are going to be really important because they’re going to see that kind of those, those visitors spending money come out into that into those loops around the New River Gorge. Now that again, that’s already happening no. Yeah, but again, I mean, it’s gonna take couple of years Figure out how big that’s gonna be.

Yeah, absolutely. It is gonna be interesting. And I mean, I think we’ll kind of we’ll talk a little bit about the potential cons. But I think one of the bonuses is more people get to experience fair though, which is just a really wonderful town, really good people there. And something that I feel like is kind of a hidden gem of that area of West Virginia in general. We love Fayetteville, my wife, and I do and it’s just a wonderful city in West Virginia. And so I think that hopefully, what this will do is bring more people in and well boosting the economy, boosting tourism, but also give people who may have overlooked places like West Virginia and Appalachia, in general, a newfound interest in it, and hopefully new respect for it. I think that that could be really important.

Something that’s going to be difficult to measure from a numbers standpoint, but that could be really valuable. That’s the key. Can we get people interested in the state of West Virginia? That’s the key right there. Because, look, get it I know that there were people upset about like, some of the hunting and fishing regulations, because they, which we’ll get into what we’re doing it wrong section, which people believe her the kind of the locals, they’re, you know, people who go there to hunt and fish. But like, in reality to me, we have to stop just thinking about what brings the locals in.

We have to start thinking about what will bring the masses to West Virginia because over the last 20 1520 years, West Virginia has changed from a state that kind of looking at things on how to bring people in to now looking at a state on how do we keep people here? I think there’s a fine line. And I hope that this helps.

Yeah, I used to, and I think it’s gonna be important to really monitor the growth if there is significant growth. One thing I did want to cite here, though, is this is I think, a quote from Rick Johnson, who’s the owner of river expeditions and Fayetteville. And I think this is part of either a public comment or something on the lip when they were still discussing the redesignation. He said, I don’t know what he cites the statistic from, but I’m sure it’s true is that West Virginia is within driving distance of 42 million people.

So like, how do we get those people in, and this could be an important part of that. So though, you’ve mentioned a couple of times the hunting aspect of it as being a con, let’s talk about some of the cons because there are some and they’re worth talking about. This isn’t all like spring daisies and butterflies. So the biggest one, the one that was raised the most and probably got the most public pushback during the discussion period of this was from hunters and fishers, who expressed concern because like I mentioned before, designating something as a national park prevents people from being able to use it for fishing or hunting, unless there’s an express provision, allowing that in the law, which in this case, there won’t be.

So as things stand right now, from existing hunting land hunters will lose about 4300 acres of that, by this new designation, which is a considerable amount of land, when you think about the fact that there are 65,000 acres in the preserve that they’re able to use. It kind of seems small in comparison, I don’t know because I don’t hunt that land. And I am not from there. But that was really one of the biggest issues.

And for a while there, Senator capital’s office was trying to get something slipped into the bill, allowing the Secretary of the Interior who manages National Park Service to grant an exception for that national park land, I don’t believe based on my reading of the bill, that that was able to happen. So as far as what I can tell, is there will not be any hunting on that 7000 acres. JOHN, this is something that I think is a sensitive topic, because it is important and hunting, of course is important for that area, and it’s just important part of like, cultural fabric of the state.

But at the same time, I think it’s it seems like a small sort of concession in the bigger scheme of things but happy to be convinced otherwise. Look, I understand how important hunting is. I lived in West Virginia mine my entire life. Here’s the thing. Though West Virginia has ample areas to hunt, and to fish, there’s a ton there’s even there’s even massive amounts of acres around New River Gorge that are still going to be open to hunting and fishing. I don’t think that, that protecting this land is going to, to do that much to the hunters and and fishermen.

I really don’t. But I guess I could be, you know, I can be convinced otherwise, by I, I’m with you. I don’t know anything about that specific land. So I don’t know, the, you know, if there are more animals in that 6000 acres or whatever, or, you know, vice versa? Well, I believe somebody and again, I don’t remember who it was, it was quoted as saying the majority of that land is steep is a cow’s ass anyway. Because a lot of it’s like rock climbing. So, I don’t know, I don’t think they’re losing out on much. But I mean, Far be it for me to tell them they’re wrong. Here’s the thing, too, right.

So West Virginia, as I mentioned earlier, has to find a way to bring people in that it has to the economically it’s suffering because people don’t visit West Virginia like they used to. Because let’s face it, West Virginia is not seeing the good light right now. You know, I mean, it’s just not. So you have to convince people that West Virginia is as great as most of us think it is. But you have to make sure it’s welcoming as well. Obviously, right now, the politics of West Virginia are not very welcoming. However, however, if you were to create a national park, that creates a safe place for people to come, they’ll show up but they’re not.

You’re not gonna bring somebody in from California when you got hunters, you know, shooting left and right, it’s just not gonna happen. Yeah, and had a hunter on your deck the whole time, like, you know, right as I would I and for me, I wouldn’t want to either like, I want to go to a place where I, especially if it’s a national park, and I’m staying nearby, I want to go and be able to relax and do the things that I want to do not worry about whether or not somebody sees me or shoots me. I mean that. I don’t want to worry about that.

Absolutely. Absolutely. That the other concern that I wanted to bring up because I know that we have some people that are from Fayetteville, who listen to this show. And if you are, please also feel free to shoot us an email or comment on social media sites, just dm tell us how you feel about this.

There is some concern about the increase in tourism having a downside to the broader community around the river gorge. Some concerns over Fayetteville becoming the new Gatlinburg which implies that it would be a humongously like a tourist-driven town with like, very kind of like touristy things kind of, you know, like a vacation town sort of thing. losing its own kind of cultural identity, I think is what would be implied there. There are also concerns about the price of real estate going up and just the cost of living in general, with more people coming in with more people moving there with more money being put into it becoming a more popular place.

I think those are all legitimate concerns – all valid concerns. I don’t see the first one at least being even remotely an issue, at least as things stand now again, I think we mentioned previously, this new designation will be important it’ll be beneficial economically to bring in new tourism new money but I don’t really foresee it bringing in so much that it fundamentally changes the makeup of the area around there especially Gatlinburg has been around for a long time.

Sure, there are plenty of people that are listening to this that have been there. It is very tourist-driven. It’s got a lot of sort of gimmicky, I love Gatlinburg, it’s a good time. Like I’ve been there with my wife a couple of times it’s fun, but I just don’t foresee that happening in a place like Fayetteville where they have their own cultural identity and uniqueness to it to where I don’t even think the people there would let that happen. So I’ve seen that concern a little bit. I personally don’t put a lot of weight into it. I think the one thing though, that is a potential concern is the housing costs price of houses price of real estate cost of living.

That’s a concern in almost every place in America right now and I’ve heard in Fayetteville as well and there’s just a housing shortage there I think from what I’ve heard or at least a portability problems there and so that is a real concern and one that could be a potential downside of this as with anything that comes with new tourism new investment I mean you’re gonna see people come in there start snatching places up for Airbnb is charging rent out the ass for people to get a nice spot next to the gorge so I can definitely see that being concerned.

I’m with you on this one. I don’t think it’s ever going to be anywhere close to Gatlinburg. Let’s also not forget Knoxville is an hour outside. Gatlinburg right Chuck, am I right by that? Probably. Yeah, it’s an hour outside. Knoxville is a far bigger city than any city in West Virginia that’s going to drive people to be Yes it is an hour 35 miles away from each other.

So there are people all over that are going to travel there to one go-to Gatlinburg and then go to Knoxville or vice versa. Go hauls no one’s doing that. That’s disgusting. No one’s doing that. I’m fine with them. I love their colors. So I’m cool with that. No one’s coming to West Virginia because of a city like that. That’s this is not happening. Now they could start coming because we have a tourist attraction, aka New River Gorge. I understand that, but I do think it will become more touristy however I don’t think it will ever be close to Gatlinburg though.

No data nada. Anyway, my takeaway is I think this is a net positive. I really do. I think that anything that boosts people’s interest in West Virginia and Appalachia, a good thing. For the most part, unless it’s like bad news coverage, but I think anything that can get people in the door is important. It’s good. And a National Park is a really important thing. It’s a very prestigious thing.

I stand by, I don’t remember who came up with this statement. But national parks are America’s best idea. They are one of the most important things but the fabric of this country and protecting this place is so fucking important and bringing people in to learn more about it is important, so I think that’s a huge positive. And I’m excited about it. I think it’s a good thing. Yeah, we’ve talked a lot about West Virginia in this but I think this is big for the region.

I really do. Because when you have obviously West Virginia is the only state that has technology in the ARC definition 100% of it within Appalachia. But when you have that state struggling, while some of the other states start to build up momentum, West Virginia has to catch up. And it’s a good thing that West Virginia catches up because it’s going to spill over to some of these other states and some of these other rural areas because West Virginia has, you know, pretty easily accessible.

Big John Isner 47:56
I don’t tend to be the most you know, optimistic guy. I try to veer on this side of you know, decent pessimism. But I am very optimistic about this one that it is a great thing for the New River Gorge to be a national park. Hell yeah. chalk it up for a win for the old dove the Appalachian the New Year, baby. Let’s do it. But I think we got to move on though, john. I think we’ve uh, you know, you’ve told me recently divulge that you’re cutting back on your red meat in your life. But one thing you’re not cutting back on in this new year is beef. And we’ve got a big beef with big john today. Don’t worry. We got a big one. Ladies and gentlemen, live workers in West Virginia

Big John Isner 49:00
it’s pretty big. I’m gonna go outside the region. I’m gonna go straight to Washington, DC.

Chuck Corra 49:05
Washington district of Columbia the swamp Ladies and gentlemen

Big John Isner 49:31
Donnie, Donnie, I’m stopped on Jr. Got it. Okay. Yeah, yeah, exactly. So if you haven’t heard already, Donald Trump has had an I always get I always laugh at this. He has another tape coming out against him. This time not because of a porn star or you know, admitting to Russian hookers pissing on Yeah, right. Yeah. Or, or, you know, damage admitting to you You know, allegedly grabbing women in certain areas.

This time. It’s just something little, something tiny. It’s just treason. That’s all it is Chuck. So in our conversation just came out Washington Post has laid out the entire thing. And I’ve gone ahead and I’ve listened to it so that hopefully you don’t have to. This is one of the if you think water, Watergate was really bad, this, this is really bad. This tends to be on that and, in my opinion to be on that level. So Donald Trump has a conversation with Secretary of State Ravensburger. So he is the Secretary of State of Georgia.

They have this huge conference call where they’ve got a bunch of attorneys, they’ve got ham, they’ve got President Trump, they’ve got President Trump’s attorneys, and they are going over the results of the Georgia election and in that Donald Trump still believes at that time that he won the election in Georgia. He even though he was down by 11,779 votes.

During the conversation, he talks about how there’s a bunch of dead people voting but the Secretary of State stops him and says only two were actually, you know, violated that and we found it, we got rid of them. Donald Trump was saying close to 5000 did that it’s not the case. He also was saying that there were a bunch of people who voted from out of state, the Secretary of State, and their attorney then clarified that that’s not what happened. In fact, they had a bunch of people over the last like 10 years, come into Georgia leave and then come back and they reregistered living back in Georgia. Well, the Trump team doesn’t understand that. And in fact, Donald Trump thinks so little of Georgia.

This is what he said. When, when the Secretary of State’s team told him that people left and came back to Georgia, he said, So you’re telling me that they miss Georgia so much, that they just decided to come back? Yeah. He said, No, I don’t believe it. It doesn’t pass the smell test is how he put it. Yeah, insane. So we know how he feels about Georgia. He did at the 30-minute mark, he then realizes that this is not going his way and the Secretary of State is not going to do what he wants. That’s when Donald Trump flips. He starts instead of talking about how, you know, the Secretary of State can help him. He then talks about how Stacey Abrams has kicked this Secretary of State’s ass the entire time, during this election,

Chuck Corra 52:47
say kicked or kissed,

Big John Isner 52:48
kicked, kicked, has dominated the Secretary of State, according to Donald Trump. In this Donald Trump, to sum it up, Donald Trump asks the Secretary of State of Georgia to find 11,780 votes, which is exactly one more than he’s down by currently in the state of Georgia, or I should say last and last by in the state.

He then says something like, Brad, how could you do this? You’re a Republican Senate, essentially saying you’re going against your party. He then says, if you don’t fix this, you’re going to lose the next election. When it comes to the two Senate seats, which I think one of me they lose either way. But that’s beside the fact. The big thing here besides citing conspiracies throughout and telling his own attorneys to shut up, he starts threatening the secretary of state by saying things like, Look, I don’t, I don’t want to, you know, bring this up.

But you could be heavily fined for interfering with this election. In fact, you can be given criminal convictions for doing this, and continues to say, you know, Brad, if you fix this now, nothing’s nothing bad’s gonna happen. But if you don’t, I mean, he just continues to imply he’s threatening the Secretary of State of Georgia to flip this. In my opinion, Donald Trump is committed, committed treason. He’s trying to tear down the democratic system that we’ve had for the entire existence of the United States. He wants to define the way that we vote and essentially, who we can vote in he wants to rig the game because Donald Trump is that kid on a basketball team who has 13 turnovers but looks at everybody else’s reason they lost.

That’s Donald Trump. Donald Trump has never been good at much, but he’s always been good at blaming others. That’s the big thing here. It sounds like you really sound like it was taken out of a poorly written script of the Godfather. In a way like I won’t be surprised if Brad Raffensperger finds himself waking up with a horse head and his bed and a note that says you’ll sleep With the fishes if you don’t get these 11,000 fucking votes online, you’re right. I mean, it really does. That conversation really did sound like that.

Yeah, man, it did. He’s, he’s always acted like a mobster. So this is no surprise at all. I don’t think it’s gonna make any difference, sadly, but it’s just a certain level of braveness that comes with this. I’m just glad that he’s getting the fuck out of the White House. Yeah, and this is a big thing I wanted to mention too, like, I know that people are kind of freaking out a little bit because people like, you know, I spineless Ted Cruz, who, I’ll tell you this, Chuck. I’ve got beef with him.

But mostly because if anybody ever said the things about my wife that Donald Trump said about Ted Cruz’s wife, there’s no way in hell I’m protecting that guy. Same. Ted Cruz has no spine. He is a spineless individual who really has lost every bit of decency that he’s had and any sense of dignity. So just to throw him in, because that’s had to fit it in. I attended Ed Cruz, Ted Cruz, but anyway, Donald Trump to me has committed treason.

He should be brought up on federal charges, especially after he is taken out of the White House because no matter what, Joe Biden is the next president of the United States point-blank, and on Wednesday when the senate up the steel john when the senate confirms this, we can finally put it to bed. Well, I can’t wait to put that to bed. And it seems like we should put this episode to bed. That was a great beef a good one to open the year on. There’ll be more salty beef to come. Again, follow us on all social media. Check us out on YouTube. We put up videos every single week of us talking so you can look at our beautiful glistening faces and HD that’ll be fun shoot us an email and we’ll see you again next week.

Other Episodes

David Morris’s West Virginia roots influence his music

You've probably heard David Morris's songs on TikTok, whether it was his viral remix of George Strait's classic "Carrying Your Love" or his new viral hit "Dutton Ranch Freestyle." We had David Morris on our show way back in 2020, which pre-dates our website. He rarely...

Masculinity in Appalachia

Callie and Chuck talk masculinity this week! Chuck discusses growing up and having to struggle with not being considered "masculine" and Callie discusses her experiences with it and especially with toxic masculinity. We also have Curren Sheldon, an Academy-Award...

Roll Damn Tide (with Sen. Doug Jones)

Callie and Chuck talk with the former U.S. Senator for Alabama, Doug Jones, on Alabama politics, and what Democrats need to do to win back forgotten parts of the country. ALSO, Callie and Chuck discuss confessions of a criminal crimson tide-er, the madness happening...

Advocating for Appalachia in the Senate (with Cheri Beasley)

Callie and Chuck talk to former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court and Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Cheri Beasley about reproductive rights, climate change, voting rights, and how she wants to get rid of the filibuster to make progress in a broken...

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Appalachia

Callie and Chuck talk to Chief Richard Sneed, the Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. ALSO, Callie tells the origin story of Smoosh - her most recent rescue kitten, we talk about the conspiracy theory of the Georgia Guidestones, why the Ohio...