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Community Resource Mapping

Bill Lucas

Bill Lucas lives with his wife on the banks of the Coal River's Marsh Fork in Dameron. Two structures stand on his property – his house, and a log cabin he built by hand. He has two daughters who live nearby.

Bill was born in Dameron the son of a coal miner, and served for a year in Vietnam. Upon his return, he used his skill as a welder to heed his father's advice to stay out of the coal mines. Now retired, he is a skilled woodworker, stonecutter, chair-caner, basket-weaver, log-cabin builder, and antique tinkerer. He says that his whole life he was brought up to live off the land, and that the land would support you.

His land-based values underpin his vision of a prosperous Coal River Valley that melds the folk traditions of the area with tourism based on the area's natural beauty. His ideas for the Coal River include canoe runs for tourists in the gentler sections of the river near Saxon-Posey and walking trails in the mountains and by the river. His log cabin, full of antiques and tools like a small museum, could be a hub for passing on “old-timer” knowledge and appreciation of folk arts.

Bill intends to build an old-fashioned, water-powered, grist mill next to his cabin on the Marsh Fork of the Coal River, with his friend, Shannon Dickens. This mill would both produce corn meal and serve as a display area for the antique collection that over-fills his cabin. He and Shannon also talk of building a river side trail as a service to the community, hoping it could attract tourists from urban areas and give locals a pleasant way to exercise.

Bill's projects and ideas make use of his skills, both artisan and handy, but he sees at present the coal industry's near monopoly on the valley's economy and land as a significant barrier to a safe environment for a land-based economy to take root.