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00:00:02 - Moving to Elkhorn City, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: This is the Elkhorn City River Oral History Project. Uh, this interview is with Amy Brashears. The interviewers are Jared Friesen and Sarah Abbott at Tim Belcher's law office in Elkhorn City, Kentucky on Sunday, April 12th, 2015.

Segment Synopsis: Amy Brashears introduces herself and explains how she and her dog came to Elkhorn City for the first time. She recounts memories that led to her staying in Elkhorn City.

Keywords: Black Labradors; Community; Jumping off rocks; Ratliff's Hole; Russell Fork; Swimming

Subjects: Elkhorn City (Ky.); Outdoor recreation.; Whitesburg (Ky.)

00:01:56 - Kayaking the Russell Fork

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Partial Transcript: And, um, uh, so what, what kinds of activities do you, do you do on the river?

Segment Synopsis: Brashears talks about some of the activities she likes to do at the Russell Fork, including hiking and kayaking. She explains some boating terms and the gear she wears. She talks about developing friendships on the river, and how going to the river is similar to going to church.

Keywords: Body boofing; Class V rapids; Cubic feet per second (CFS); Drops; El Horrendo; Gorge; Hiking; Meat Grinder; Nature; Russell Fork River; Solitude; Spirituality; Whitewater

Subjects: Elkhorn City (Ky.); Kayaking.; Outdoor recreation.; Rafting (Sports); Rapids

00:11:01 - First timers: Meeting visitors and being a visitor in Elkhorn City

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Partial Transcript: When you talk about the people that you have met on the river, or in--just anywhere around here, um, can you, can you tell us about--have you ever met anybody that's not from this area, or that might be from somewhere far away?

Segment Synopsis: Through talking about visitors to the area that she has met, Brashears leads into talking about her own decision to stay in Elkhorn City, and how she tent-camped for four months before renting a house. She also discusses her connection to nature in context of her childhood and family.

Keywords: Appalachian Mountains; Breaks Interstate Park; Carson Island; Connection to nature; Flooding; Friends as family; Tent camping; Thunderstorms

Subjects: Childhood; Elkhorn City (Ky.); Families.; Tourism.

00:14:25 - Community development in Elkhorn City

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Partial Transcript: Um, when you think about, uh, kind of the--well, you know, the, the development of, of the town, or the things like with the er--the Heritage Council is doing, um, you know, what do you--what kind of--as a newer resident, what are some things that you kind of hope for, maybe have goals for this community moving forward?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Brashears discusses some of the plans to develop Elkhorn City's ecotourism potential, as well as the current environmental problems the community faces. She encourages community activism.

Keywords: Activism; Breaks Interstate Park; Community gardens; Conservation; Elkhorn City Heritage Council; Erosion of the Russell Fork; Horticulture; Litter; Master plans; Nantahala River (N.C.); Nature and Education Center; Pace of life; Volunteering; Water pollution; Youth

Subjects: Economic development.; Elkhorn City (Ky.); Environmental protection--Kentucky; River tourism.

00:18:35 - Personal goals and growth

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Partial Transcript: And this kind of--this attitude that you have of, I don't know, I--from listening to you it sounds like a spirit of service, a willingness to volunteer, an interest to be active, to even be an activist--I don't want to put words in your mouth, but if that's something that fits, is that something that you have always had that kind of spirit? Where, where do you think that comes from?

Segment Synopsis: Brashears talks about where her desire to be active in the community and to help others came from. She explains her personal goals and the education she's pursuing in civil engineering.

Keywords: AutoCAD software; Availability of jobs; Entrepreneurship; Environmental science; Fieldwork; Giving back; International tourists; James Stapleton; Migration; Neighbors; Non-traditional students; Robbie Lester; Steve Ruth; Super Moon Music Festival; Tim Belcher

Subjects: Civil engineering.; College students.; Education, Higher; Engineering--Study and teaching

00:25:25 - River flows and tourism in Elkhorn City

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Partial Transcript: You talk about when kayakers, you know, come, or even, like, um, you had mentioned earlier about different flows of the river. Um, and I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about the, kind of that cycle throughout the year, and how that works.

Segment Synopsis: Brashears talks about how the scheduled dam release in October brings booming business to the area, and how more scheduled releases could help stabilize Elkhorn City's economy.

Keywords: Bridge construction; Corps of Engineers; Cubic feet per second (CFS); Flannagan Dam; Garden Hole; Gorge; River gauge levels; Rusty Fork; Scheduled releases; Small Business Association; Virginia water

Subjects: Economic development.; Elkhorn City (Ky.); River tourism.

00:31:04 - Whitewater park plans and ecotourism

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Partial Transcript: When you, uh, like when you were--you had talked earlier about, uh, development or different ideas that people have. Um, could you see a, a whitewater park working well in town?

Segment Synopsis: Brashears talks about plans for expanding ecotourism in Elkhorn City and how opposing ideas about developing the local economy are present in the town. She also goes into the area's moonshining past.

Keywords: "Who owns the river?"; ATV trails; Alcohol sales; Breaks Interstate Park; Chimney Rock; Commons; Community resources; Drag strips; Experience tourism; Garden Hole; Gatlinburg (Tenn.); Human destruction; Levisa Fork; Moonshine distilleries; Nantahala River (N.C.); Nature tourism; Nepal; Potter Flats; Preservation; Suspended bridges; Whitewater parks

Subjects: Alcohol--Law and legislation--Kentucky; Big Sandy River (Ky. and W. Va.); Distilling, illicit; Economic development.; Elkhorn City (Ky.); Environmental protection--Kentucky; River tourism.

00:39:35 - Exploring the U.S. and coming home

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Partial Transcript: Um, looking backwards a little bit, if you were to think about ten years ago, could you have imagined that you would be in this place, be interested in the things you're in, doing what you're doing?

Segment Synopsis: Brashears talks about her two-year journey after high school, living in her car and driving around the country to California and back. She explains the moment she decided to come home and why.

Keywords: Adventures; Chicago (Ill.); Destinations; Georgia; Journeys; Key West (Fla.); Maryland; Ohio; Perceptions of Appalachia; Pine Mountain; Road trips; Roaming; Santa Monica (Calif.); Storytelling; Thunderbird

Subjects: Adventure travel.; Homecoming; Travelers.; Voyages and travels.

00:44:45 - Looking ahead: Projects and city council aspirations

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Partial Transcript: Um, so then, um, you know, I asked you the question about in the past. So, thinking ahead, five years from now, if you were to--how would you finish this statement: "Five years from now, I will be..."

Segment Synopsis: Brashears looks ahead to where she hopes to be five years from now. She plans to run for city council, and has ideas about the key issues to address for the city.

Keywords: Apple Blossom; City councils; Earth Day project; Generational gaps; Hula lessons; James "Omar" Allen-Polley; Kayakers; Perceptions of "river rats"; Political elections; Tap water safety; Younger generations; Youth

Subjects: Elkhorn City (Ky.); Kentucky--Politics and government

00:50:52 - Stories about gardening, pets, and the river

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Partial Transcript: Do you garden, yourself, now?

Segment Synopsis: Brashears ends the interview by talking about her attempts to garden, and rescuing her dog. She invites people to visit Elkhorn City and talks about its beauty and diversity.

Keywords: Animal rescue; Black Labrador; Blizzard Hercules; El Horrendo; Fishing; Gardening; Pets; Spirituality; Tranquility of nature; Trout; Ziplining

Subjects: Elkhorn City (Ky.); Hobbies.; Outdoor recreation.