For Immediate Release
June 23, 1999
Contact: Chad Kister: (740) 594-7287 or or
Sarah Radke: (330) 336-7746; Gerald Cherney: (440) 967-0870; Marcia Rose: (740) 653-6915
Mark Spring: (419) 382-7157

March for the Ancients 1999 a great success

 Ten Dysart Defenders walked 120 miles from Dysart Woods to Columbus from June 15-21 to demonstrate the need to protect Dysart Woods from pending permits to mine underneath it by Ohio Valley Coal Company.  More than a dozen others joined sections of the walk, including a Muskingum College Professor and a farmer, Floyd Simpson.

 Walkers received tremendous support from those they encountered with donations, showers, food and places to camp and shelter provided all along the way.  Walkers stayed at farms, a church and at Chad Kister's parents house in Columbus.

 At the Statehouse, walkers gave eloquent pleas for Dysart Woods' protection.  Kister's speech is on the Dysart Defenders web site now at and all of the speeches plus much more coverage will be on the site soon.  Media are welcome to download and use any photos, graphics, text or anything from the web site.
 Walkers were from throughout Ohio, including Belmont County, Vermillion, Wadsworth, Columbus, Reynoldsburg, Gahanna, Athens, Toledo, New Concord, Cambridge, Zanesville and more.

 The walk was a way to directly talk with the people of Ohio.  Walkers were surprised by the massive volume of support and the lack of opposition as they walked through coal mining country all the way to the Statehouse.  At least 98 percent of those who expressed opinions were in full support of the walk and its purpose to save Dysart Woods.

 Coal miners said that they could not understand why Bob Murray, President of Ohio Valley Coal Company was trying to mine under such an important place as Dysart Woods.  More than a half dozen coal miners or former coal miners along the journey said that they want to see Dysart Woods protected by not allowing mining under or near Dysart Woods.
 "OVCC President Bob Murray needs to listen to his own people," said Dysart Defenders Coordinator Chad Kister.  "The walk demonstrated conclusively that the people of Ohio demand the protection of our last ancient forest of its type."
 A cloth petition with hundreds of signatures filling the 15-foot long banner was unveiled at the Statehouse at the end of the walk.  That petition along with another with more than a thousand signatures will be presented to the Ohio Reclamations Commission as part of the Dysart Defenders appeal.

 Walker Stephen Routhwaite of Albany wrote the following poem during the walk (semi-colons denoting new lines), "Robert Murray; and his money grubbing machines; By all means; Thinks with all ease; He can come in and kill; All of Dysart's Trees; With little opposition; Boy was he wrong; When he met us; For we are Dysart Defenders; Till we turn to dust."