West Virginia Public Radio Presents is broadcast Thursdays at 9 p.m. and features a variety of insightful programs that explore life, politics, and culture in and around the Mountain State.
Produced by Larry Groce (host of Mountain Stage) these three one-hour programs dramatize five of the short stories from G.D. McNeill’s book, "The Last Forest."
October 17 The First Campfire Back in the 1880's when this story takes place, the author was a 10-year-old boy living on a mountain farm nestled up against one of the last virgin forests in the eastern United States. It was a life bounded by the seasons and the sun, a life enriched by the tall tales, legends, and family memories recounted over long winter nights by the fireplace. This story tell of his first fishing trip across the mountains to the Cranberry River wilderness.
October 24 The Battle at the Whirlpool & The Last Campfire This is a fish story told at a time when the native Brook trout streams of the Gauley country were struggling to survive. Logging and waste during the first two decades of the twentieth century killed off many good trout fisheries. The Battle at the Whirlpool is a quest-story about a young boy seeking to catch the last great brook trout in the Gauley country. In The Last Campfire, 50 years after The First Campfire, a group of old friends reunite to travel to the old wilderness where they spent their youth. It's a story of loss and renewal, as the group of friends faces the reality of the destructive hand of man, and the ability of nature to be restored.
October 31 The Mystery at Gauley Marsh & The Duke of Possum Ridge In these stories, G.D. McNeill tells the story of the Gauley Marsh, based on the real-life Cranberry Glades, a sub-arctic wetlands environment that was left behind when the last Ice Age receded from the Allegheny Mountains. In the spirit of Halloween, this is a murder mystery inspired by a real story from McNeill's day. The Duke of Possum Ridge is a tale of greed about neighbors who took advantage of those around them during the boom times when the railroads, timbering and mining began to exploit the cheap land and resources of the state.
A curriculum guide is available at The Last Forest Website from the Pocahontas Communications Cooperative. Made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the West Virginia Humanities Council.