It's really sad to think about the hollowing out of rural America....and the devastation of drug addiction that was like throwing accelerant on a smoldering fire. I really hope that serious plans are developed, by working with these communities, to help these communities dig out of the hole they find themselves in. If someone put a series of workshops together in some of these areas and worked with communities to come up with viable solutions, I wonder what they would be? For example, I don't think every community and holler can be saved. It might make sense to depopulate some areas and have folks re-establish themselves in more centralized communities so good social services can be provided-- good hospitals, amenities, stores, etc. Depopulation is happening, but very slowly and very painfully without any support or plan behind it. Maybe it makes sense to speed it up- cut the limb off cleanly rather than saw it off slowly. Provide assistance that folks can sign up for that pays for moving expenses and helps them find subsidized, decent housing....in the new "core areas" (and all that housing construction would create a mini-economic boom right there....with good jobs). Clearly, college towns tend to do much better than non-college towns so maybe the college towns can be the hubs or core areas that everything else gets built upon. If you don't live within 30 miles of a college town, good luck to ya, basically. This is not unique to W.Va. Huge chunks of the USA where people are just too spread out and too old. How do you build a viable, sustainable economy in that situation? I think you need to move people closer together. It can still be a semi-rural lifestyle, of course. Once large rural tracts become mostly depopulated, perhaps they could be turned into big state and county parks? Bring in more mountain biking, locavore farming? I don't know--- just thinking out loud and I really don't mean to offend anyone. If someone's family has had their roots in a particular spot for over 200 years there's no question it would be very hard for them to imagine picking up and moving on....but maybe they would see the writing on the wall and cut their losses- especially if the gov't wrote them a fat check for their land and helped them use it to find a good housing situation in a healthy, nearby community with a growing economy and plenty of jobs. I think the idea of working with communities to figure out the way forward is the way to go, but people need to be clear-eyed and base their planning on things that would actually work. Laissez-faire and letting things just fall apart and restructure themselves naturally will create several generations of unnecessary suffering. This is the kind of thing where active social services and federal $$ can really make a difference-- just as the New Deal did many years ago. A new New Deal, basically. But not totally top down-- where the locals are engaged in the conversation regarding their future and how to get there. With the current pandemic people are realizing that if they are knowledge workers that many of them can work from almost anywhere if they have good Internet. This provides some real opportunities for some repopulating and regrowth of certain areas. Again, I can imagine a lot of folks with money moving to rural college towns-- places like Boone, N.Carolina., and Morgantown, W. Va., for example, teleworking from there and putting lots of $$ into the local economy. But they're going to want certain amenities-- good schools, good medical services, good police/sheriff/security, nice restaurants, nice parks, clean water/air, decent airport, etc. Oh yeah, and a good music store.