Currently includes two pieces of property in Roane County
- Hickory Ridge
- Sako’s Land
1. Hickory Ridge
- Status: Established
- Formed: 1975
- Visitors accepted: Yes
- Open to new Members: Yes
- Contact Name: Mary Wildfire
- Phone: 304-927-4970
1069 Steel Hollow Rd.
Spencer, West Virginia, 25276
sustainable living in Appalachia
Hickory Ridge Land Trust comprises 72 acres of ridge-top land and the wooded coves below, and a separate parcel of 70 acres of bottom-land several miles away. Both are in central West Virginia near Spencer, a town of 2000. The ridge-top land is divided into four leaseholds and a common area. Three of the leaseholds are already taken by families. The remaining leasehold has no cleared land currently but a large old garden spot could be readily cleared, and there are two small buildings left behind. The bottom-land parcel has an existing house in poor condition, and a creek running through it. It’s overgrown with autumn olive. We think this land could probably support two leaseholds, but have not walked the lines yet.
While we on the ridge exist as separate households, it’s our intention to share some resources and trade produce. Reducing the use of fossil fuels, living in harmony with the Earth, and working for peace and social justice are values we share.
Our land has great views and nice woods, but (on the ridge-top) we don’t have a year-round stream. We do have wells, and average annual rainfall here is about 40 inches. We have four seasons, with a few small snowfalls in a typical winter, a long hot, humid summer, a colorful fall, and as for the Appalachian Spring, it inspired a symphony. The local area could never be described as progressive, unfortunately, and jobs are scarce. However, taxes and the cost of living are low, and building codes don’t apply here.
One of our members was part of the original commune of 40 years ago; now he and his wife spend weekends here, while working in the bigger city of Charleston during the week. The second couple joined five years ago, and a single man a few months ago. Our ages range from 57 to 70, plus the new 33-year-old; we hope to find new members at least a little younger. One household is grid-tied solar powered, the other is off-grid. Moving toward collective self-sufficiency is a goal, so we seek people interested in projects like bee-keeping, mushroom growing, keeping dairy goats or other animals, alternative-energy production, etc. Seeking like-minded people prepared to build their own houses and develop agricultural projects. There is a one-time $1000 join fee; after that you pay your share of the property tax a cost of gravel for the road, around $400/year.