Springtime in Appalachia means ramp festival season. But even as ramp festivals attract record numbers of people seeking a fleeting taste of the seasonal garlic-scented greens, scientists warn that overharvesting is forcing wild populations into decline.
Picture a tiny town set along a creek in West Virginia. A mountain rises from the town's eastern edge, overlooking the 1,400 people living below. Then, July comes — and 50,000 people arrive on that mountain for the National Scout Jamboree.
The town is called Mount Hope. I've heard some call it "Mount Hopeless." The town went through the long, downward slump from the boom days of deep-mine coal, when it was a grand, small-town capital of coal mining.