The Corps of Engineers' notice states, "The Blair Mountain Battlefield is an approximate 1,700-acre district located in Logan County. ... The Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places has determined the Blair Mountain Battlefield is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places."
Evans said, "This is historic. We look forward to having meetings with the companies and other stakeholders about how to resolve the preservation of Blair Mountain."
Phil Smith, a UMW spokesman, said union President Cecil Roberts was not available to comment Monday because he was negotiating with Patriot Coal about changes to the union's contract after the company's bankruptcy.
The UMW, Smith said, has not yet filed a formal application to be a "consulting party" in Corps efforts to reach a programmatic agreement about Blair Mountain.
Joe Stanley, a retired union coal miner who works with Friends of Blair Mountain, believes an agreement among all parties is possible.
"We have really made a lot of efforts to find out what everybody's position is," he said. "We have met with the State Historic Preservation Office, with Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, with Raamie Barker, with people from coal companies."
Stanley said that if the battlefield could be preserved, "we would be in agreement with the coal companies to go ahead with mining that would not affect the battlefield."
Evans believes the programmatic agreement will bring a "unique opportunity for us all to work cooperatively to see the preservation of Blair Mountain and the economic development of that community."
Friends of Blair Mountain has already developed a proposal for various activities on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail and other tourism attractions in the area.
"We have also developed a proposal for Blair Mountain to be turned into a state park," Evans said. "The community is a major concern, not only to preserve Blair Mountain, but also to counter problems people suffer economically.
"Blair Mountain is an important part of history. It should be something that people throughout the country appreciate for its historical significance."
Other groups that have worked to preserve Blair Mountain include the Sierra Club, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, West Virginia Labor History Association and National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.