Tree Sit on Coal River Mountain: Day One Update

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
posted by rampsmedia

Two young people took to the trees this morning in an effort to halt the destructive practice of strip-mining on Coal River Mountain.  Becks Kolins, 21, and  Catherine-Ann MacDougal, 24, have perched themselves roughly 80 feet in the air on wooden platforms on trees on the outskirts of the actively mined areas of the Bee Tree surface mine.  Below them stood their direct support – Elias Schewel, 27, and Junior Walk, 21, both of whom trained extensively in conflict mediation before their act of non-violent civil disobedience.

"For Judy Bonds" and "Stop Strip Mining"
Alpha Natural Resources halted all work on the Bee Tree surface mine while WV State Police and mine security spent over four hours attempting to locate the position of the four young people – even with the company helicopter.  Upon discovering them, Walk and Schewel, were arrested, and Kolins and MacDougal remain in their respective trees.  They plan to stay there as long as they are physically able, in order to prevent Alpha from conducting further surface mining operations on Coal River Mountain.  Blasting on the entire Bee Tree site was shut down for the whole day.

Kolins and MacDougal sent periodic text messages throughout Wednesday to their supporters.  Kolins reported that a helicopter, owned by Alpha Natural Resources, hovered dangerously close to their tree.  The two tree-sitters also confirmed that a bulldozer is slowly grading a road towards their location from the mine wall bench.  Despite their isolation, these two, strong, brave young people, in the spirit of the late Judy Bonds, have vowed, “We Won’t Stop Until They Do – Stop All Strip Mining!”

Walk and Schewel were released from Southern Regional Jail at around 9:45pm, each was held with a $1000 bail.  As is evidenced by the picture below, they are in high spirits, and are looking forward to a good night of sleep.

RAMPS would like to extend its gratitude to the multitude of people across the country that have expressed their unwavering support for the tree sitters who have chosen to take a stand for mountains and communities.  Please be assured that these words of encouragement are being passed on to the young people in the trees, and will be ever more necessary with each passing day they spend sitting and sweating in the muggy West Virginia heat.

If you are able, consider donating $5, $25, $50 or more to the RAMPS’ campaign general fund.  All money in the general fund goes towards feeding and housing the large behind-the-scenes support crew that is necessary to pull off an action of this nature safely, securely, and effectively.

12 Responses to “Tree Sit on Coal River Mountain: Day One Update”

  1. fuckyamountains says:

    These tree sits are old and outdated, it was kinda interesting the first time around at Edwight, and still had a lil bit of charm the second time while being done at Marfork, but a third time? WTF, I thought you all wanted to be journalists, I mean damn, even Ken Ward Jr. changes his shit up once in awhile!!!!

    I’ll end it here and make a very long story short…. 1) You people smell like shit, buy some soap and bathe. 2) CUT YOUR GOD DAMN HAIR! 3) Go back to where your from…. Yes I know Mr. Walk is from around here I’ll give that to ya, but I seriously doubt any of the other three are even from WV or an actual coal producing area!

    Have a nice day fuckers! :)

    • Eli says:

      Make sure to stay tuned for my blog post tomorrow addressing this red herring of an argument

      • fuckyamountains says:

        Eli, heard you got stuck in the ditch the other day and a guy that works at Marfork pulled you out??? But yet we are ALL assholes and don’t care anything about the people in and around the Coal River area??? Oh yeah, BTW, he said that you where very welcome for his act of kindness.

  2. big support here from bull run mountain in virginia

  3. We are so proud of what y’all are doing. Thank you so much and know we are sending out prayers that you remain safe. Solidarity from West Tennessee!

  4. sophie johnson says:

    you are fabulous! keep up the heart and pride of this action because i wish i was there sitting with you. blessings, support, and respect. ~admirer& servent.of.truth

  5. sophie johnson says:

    wonderful wonderful guys. hang in (and up!) there. I bet you guys can have some great meditation sessions up there. Kudos and good luck, keep posting, I’ll keep checking and supporting.
    Love <3

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  7. hebintn says:

    This is the kind of passionate action that needs to continue if the idiots in Washington are going to notice. I’d like to see hundreds in trees at one time. Blair Mountain will not be forgotten. Wish I was younger I’d be climbing a tree.

  8. […] arrested supporting tree sitters Catherine Ann MacDougal and Becks Kolins at the site of the sit on July 20, 2011, knew Judy Bonds all his life. “If it weren’t for Judy I probably wouldn’t be able to […]

  9. I’ve just learned about this tree sit in its 10th day, way out here in California. Fantastic and inspiring; a dramatic, PEACEFUL way to raise awareness about the insanity of blowing up mountains and fouling land, air and water to get coal, a dirty fuel which must now be relegated to our country’s past.

    I will blog about this brave, heartfelt direct action on the front page of my website,; do what I can to spread the word of these brave, young and committed environmental activists.

    Jack Gescheidt

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