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Explore wonderful West Virginia

作者:未知  时间:2012-11-12
  VOICE ONE: Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember. VOICE TWO: And I'm Faith Lapidus. This week on our program, we tell you about a popular area for outdoor activities in the state of West Virginia. (MUSIC) VOICE ONE: The song "Country Roads" was very popular when John Denver first recorded it in 1971. It still is popular with people who live in West Virginia and visitors who have fallen in love with what is known as the Mountain State. VOICE TWO: West Virginia is a small state. But it has many different areas of interest to visitors who like to hike, camp, climb rocks, raft in rivers, fish and hunt. One area that offers many kinds of outdoor activities is called the Potomac Highlands. It is in the eastern part of the state, not far from the border with the state of Virginia. The Allegheny Mountains divide the area from north to south. Rivers on the east side of the Potomac Highlands flow into the Potomac River and continue on toward the Atlantic Ocean. Monongahela National Forest is in this area. It covers more than 350,000 hectares of West Virginia, mostly in the Potomac Highlands. VOICE ONE: A good place to begin a visit to West Virginia is at Spruce Knob. It is about 1,500 meters high, the highest mountain in the state. You can drive your car slowly up a rough road to the top. There are places to stop along the road to look at the fields and forests down below and far in the distance. At the top, you follow a short path to a stone-and-steel observation tower. On either side of the path are what look like river beds of big rocks. Wildflowers of different colors brighten the rocky land. From the tower, you see wilderness in all directions. VOICE TWO: Whispering Spruce Trail follows a circular path around the observation tower. The path leads past an open field covered with huge rocks, through a group of tall spruce trees, and past a field of blueberry bushes. Off in the distance you see a valley way below and lines of bluish gray mountains that seem to reach forever. Spruce Knob has more than one hundred kilometers of hiking trails. Some of them are paths made in the early 1900 by men who climbed the mountain to cut trees. It also has a lake for fishing and a campground where people can stay. (MUSIC) VOICE ONE: Near Spruce Knob is one of the best-known places in West Virginia -- Seneca Rocks. This rock formation is made of white-grayquartzite, a kind of sandstone. It is about 300 meters above the river that flows below. When the sun shines on the almost straight-sided rocks, they look like bright shining wings rising out of a mountain of green trees. VOICE TWO: Experienced rock climbers love Seneca Rocks. The rocks are very difficult to climb. Not many people were known to have climbed them until the Second World War began. Then the Army used the rocks to train troops for action in the mountains of Europe. Now there are almost four hundred mapped ways to climb Seneca Rocks. Visitors who are not experienced rock climbers can follow a steep man-made path that takes them to the top. The path begins at Seneca Rocks Discovery Center at the base of the rocks. The Discovery Center has exhibits about the earliest American Indians who lived in the area. The center also has information about the wildlife and plants of the area. (MUSIC) VOICE ONE: West Virginia is a state divided by mountains. But the area has also been divided in other ways during its history. In the early years of the United States, it was the western part of the state of Virginia. It was part of Virginia until 1861. Then, as the American Civil War began, the Virginia state government voted to rebel against the United States. Virginia joined other southern states in forming the Confederate States of America. But representatives from the western counties opposed the decision to leave the Union. So the area separated from Virginia. In June of 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state. VOICE TWO: Many Civil War battles were fought in West Virginia. Even though West Virginia had remained in the Union, about half of the people in the state supported the South. Many families were divided. Sometimes brothers fought on opposite sides. After the North won the war, divisions in the state slowly healed. Most of the people in the state were farmers in the eighteen hundreds. Then two natural resources -- coal and trees -- became important. Mining of coal and logging of the forests became major industries as transportation improved on the rivers and railroads were built. Coal and wood continue to be important to the state's economy. Toward the end of the 20th century, tourism became an important industry. The number of visitors to West Virginia continues to increase every year. (MUSIC) VOICE ONE: The Potomac Highlands area of West Virginia has a lot of sandstone. Sandstone is a soft rock. The action of wind and water can form cave openings like natural rooms within the rock.
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