Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020 - 23

COUNTRY ROADS

Book Review: A Classic
Lee Smith. The Last Girls. (Ballantine
Books, 2002) 406 pp.

BILLY BOWLING

A

Thirty-six miles of the Clinch River in Tazewell and Russell counties became part of the
Virginia Scenic Rivers System on July 1. Other segments of the Clinch joined the system in
1992, 1994 and 2002.

Virginia Scenic Rivers Turns 50,
Designates 110 New Miles

W

ith 2020 as the 50th anniversary of the Virginia Scenic River System,
sections of six rivers were designated for the program by the General
Assembly this year. Most of the mileage is in the Blue Ridge region, on
the Clinch, James, Maury and Pound rivers. This year's additions bring the total to
39 river segments and almost 1,000 miles across the state.
"This is an exciting year for the program," says program coordinator Lynn
Crump. "Not only have we added over 110 new river miles- more than any other
year-but six new segments in one year surpasses what we thought was possible."
Rivers with outstanding natural beauty, fish and wildlife, historic, recreational
or geologic assets can be considered for the system. Local citizens and organizations partner with state agencies to petition the General Assembly for designation,
which gives riparian landowners and other local citizens a stronger voice in any
government decisions that potentially impact the river. It does not grant automatic public access to the waterways.
"Through this program, communities are demonstrating the pride they have in
their rivers," Crump says. dcr.virginia.gov/recreational-planning/sr50 -CAT MCCUE

nyone who loves Appalachian literature
loves Lee Smith. I'd be hard-pressed
to cite a favorite."Fair and Tender Ladies"
and "Oral History" are two
novels you won't forget;
reading her short-story
collections "Me and My
Baby View the Eclipse" and
"News of the Spirit" is like
sorting through a stack of
colorful fabric, each one
more beautiful than the last.
But for Women of a Certain Age, Smith's
"The Last Girls" is a trip you want to take
now: a novel about four women reliving a
raft journey down the Mississippi River taken
when it was acceptable to call collegeaged women girls. The women have come
together on a riverboat to memorialize
Baby, one of their lost Mary Scott College
(read Hollins) classmates. Smith weaves their
presents and pasts beautifully, recalling their
diverse Southern girlhoods, college days and
present lives into a story that will make you
wish you'd been on that raft in the mid-'60s,
before life got complicated and sad and,
well, adult. And it will make you remember
your own college days...and maybe plan
your own reunion with friends who knew
you when.
Based on a raft trip she took in 1966 with
15 Hollins College classmates, "The Last
Girls" is Lee Smith at her best, rich with life,
friendship and love in their infinite variety
and truest forms.
-JOAN VANNORSDALL

'Good Walk' Columnist Publishes Appalachian Trail Books for Kids
"All About the Appalachian Trail,"
by Leonard M. Adkins. Blue River
Press, $5.99.

L

eonard Adkins, long-time columnist
for this magazine and author of more
than 20 books on hiking, the outdoors
and nature, has published "All About the
Appalachian Trail," from Blue River Press.

The 120-page, softbound, digest-size
book covers the bases-from formation
and history to state-by-state coverage
and animals, along with much more.
The material is aimed at people in grades
four though eight, and is presented in a
straightforward, relaxed manner. Dozens
of black and white illustrations by Kristen
Halvorsen add to the presentation.

The book closes with
short sections on quotes
on the trail, timelines
for the trail and the world, a
glossary and a full index.
The cover illustration-you get one
guess-is indeed Virginia's McAfee
Knob.
-KR

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

23


http://dcr.virginia.gov/recreational-planning/sr50

Blue Ridge Country September/October 2020

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