Land access, ownership to be discussed next week

November 09, 2019

The New Economy Network of Southwest Virginia will host a community forum Nov. 14 to discuss issues of land access and absentee ownership of land in Southwest Virginia.

“Much of the Appalachian region faces unique challenges to accessing land due to vast amounts of acreage being owned by outside corporations, public institutions or other entities,” the organization stated in a Thursday release.

The forum will begin at 6 p.m. in Appalachia town council chambers, 508 W. Main St.


The evening will feature a panel of local experts who have had first-hand experience with land studies, land access, and leases. They will discuss navigating leases from land-holding companies, the effects of absentee ownership on land taxation and tools for identifying land owners.

Speakers will include: Phil Meeks, Wise County Extension agent; David Rouse, land use ethics philosopher; and Bobby Branham, local cattle farmer.

The New Economy Network “is a regional citizens’ group that focuses on sustainable economic development and transition in Southwest Virginia,” according to the release. Appalachian Voices is a nonprofit organization with an office in Norton that works on community and economic development and environmental protection in the region.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Tyler Hughes at Appalachian Voices at 276/207-8686 or email at