Blackwater Canyon Benefit Concert

By Sue Broughton

(This appeared in the September 1998 issue of "Social Climber," the newsletter of the Pittsburgh Climbers)

We gave it a try – with mixed results. Saturday, August 29, Betty and Art Evans, Dick and I took a road trip to Wheeling to take in the benefit concert for the Blackwater Canyon. We allowed time to have dinner on the way, and to get lost since none of us had a good idea where the Griffiths Lodge was, although we had determined how to get to Peters Run Road. None of this took as long as expected, so we arrived about 7:15 PM. Concert set-up was just getting underway. We had a lot of time to simply hang out.

On the minus side (for us): we were hoping for Bluegrass; we got hard rock. We expected it to start at 8 (as advertised in the WV Highlands Conservancy publications). It started a little before 9, which was apparently the time advertised locally.

On the plus side: we paid our admission (even though we didn’t stay long, leaving about 9:30). We bought nice T-shirts – a further contribution. The concert brought the cause to a new area. I don’t think there’s been a previous Conservancy event in Wheeling. And to a new generation. Most present were young people (with a few exceptions including us). My conversation with several of them, including the concert organizer, indicated that many of this generation – including the concert organizer and many attendees – are as galvanized by the threat to the Blackwater as we were by the threats to the Seneca Rocks, Otter Creek, Dolly Sods, etc. They had brought bumper stickers, literature and a large display board with good photos. But I was told that many other young people came merely to hear the bands (who played for free) making the rock format a plus for the cause. They knew nothing about the Blackwater, and the concert organizers intended to reach and educate at least some of this new audience.

On balance, I think the plus outweighed the minus. We had a pleasant ride, a nice dinner, and even enjoyed a bit of the music, although a bit w enough. We met some new people, largely from the next generation, got some insight into their efforts at saving some wild areas, and came away with the impression that there are young people interested in carrying the Conservancy concerns. Their tastes in music may be different, but their interest in endangered places is similar.

Sue, thanks so very much for traveling some distance to help the Cause. Our apologies for not making it clearer as to what the musical menu was to be, and for the mix up on the time. Editor.