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a Walk In The Woods Essay


Thinning Forests

Throughout the many years that the Appalachian Trail the Forests surrounding the trail have slowly began to dwindle in size. Most people would think that the decreasing forests blame rests on humans and they would be right and to a huge extent. As the years go on the forests are getting more sparse and less of an attraction and more of an eye swore. Some of the leading causes are pollution, Housing developments, and mining.

The Appalachian Trail runs through Pennsylvania. In the northeast section of Pennsylvania there is a region known as Coal Region. This region is known for having a particular type of coal. This coal is called Anthracite and is a very hard type of coal. As well as having an abundance of coal it was known for zinc, lead, and many other common minerals. The area around these minerals is still scarred from the constant mining of this coal and other metals. The mining stopped in 1980 and since then the citizens of the towns have been trying to clean up the environment. I the book A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson had stumbled upon one of these strip mines only to discover the horrid condition it left the earth in. I walked over and found myself on the lip of a vast cauldron, perhaps an are in extent, which was emitting thick, cloudlike, pure white smoke- the kind of smoke you get from burning tires or old blankets. (Bryson 182)

As well as leaving huge gaping holes in the ground mining has also lead to the smelting of those minerals. From smelting these minerals for 80 years the pollution levels of the air and the soil are at a record high for the area. A very grave and sickening example Bill Bryson uses to it fullest when he describes what he saw, I walked along for some minutes, gravely examining the scar as if I were some kind of official inspector of highways, before I spread my gaze more generally and it dawned on me that I was in the middle very much the middle of an extensively smoking landscape, on possibly no more than a skin of asphalt, above a fire that had been burning out of control for thirty-four years (Bryson 183) According to Palmerton Citizens for a Clean Environment, approximately 47 tons of cadmium per year, 95 tons of lead per year, 3,575 tons of zinc per year, and between 1,400 and 3,600 pounds of sulfur dioxide per hour were emitted from the plant during its 80 years of operation. The way the pollution got into the soil and land surrounding the mines was from the Acid rain. Acid rain is a rain cloud that has a very high concentration of acid in it. The sulfur dioxide emissions when combined with the rain caused acid deposition and resulted in the deforestation of the Blue Mountain and Stoney Ridge. Acid deposition is when the plants grow in a very acidic soil and they start to die.

Even after 30 years of trying to reverse the deforestation in the area it has not been an easy task. The people around and the Palmerton Citizens for a Clean Environment are doing all that they can and will continue to restore this area to its former beauty. The remediation efforts are being attempted of three fronts, Human safety and environmental health, compensation for damaged natural resources and the enjoyment of those resources, mitigation of potential hazards associated with the rock slide along Blue Mountain.

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