In this case, any publicity isn't good publicity, because stories about the spill seem to have scared off some tourists, which "illustrates an ongoing battle over economic diversification in West Virginia, where the tourism industry at times collides with a powerful mining industry that for decades has provided the majority of the state’s identity and its good-paying jobs," Frankel writes.
Dave Arnold, who owns a rafting company, told Frankel, “It’s a hair slow. I’m positive some of it is linked to the spill. My whole life has been about selling West Virginia. Never before have we seen an event that caused so many negative reactions." Tourists don't seem to care that the New and Gauley rivers sit well upstream of the spill, Frankel writes. They form the Kanawha, into which the Elk flows at Charleston.
Editor's note: Frankel knows how water flows; he reported on rural topics for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for many years. Congratulations on the new job, Todd.