A vast coal deposit underlies southern Illinois, sometimes near the surface, sometimes deep underground. Coal created an economy and a landscape that endures.

This strip mine, abandoned for more than half a century, has begun to heal. Its barren heaps of oveburden and slag have been lovingly planted with trees and grasses. Wildlife has begun to return to the deep, cold waters.

tripmined lands must now be returned to something like its original contours, as mandated by national legislation. Until the citizens of southern Illinois and Appalachia organized, in the 1970s, mining companies stripped out the coal and walked away.

This farm has been in the family for more than a century; it has been designated a Centennial Farm. They run cattle and operate a hunt club on this land.

urface Mine Reclamation

entennial Farm Program
Remains of a Strip Mine, South of Pinckneyville, Perry County © D. Gorton 2001
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