Alpha Natural Resources, which bought Massey Energy last month, and Arch Coal now own much of Blair Mountain.
Joe Stanley, a retired United Mine Workers union miner from Prichard, said the state has been sucked dry of wealth by coal companies whose only concern is making money and not sharing it with the people of West Virginia.
"Why is it that West Virginia is the richest state in natural resources, yet we remain at the bottom of everything?" he asked.
Christian Torp, 31, of Lexington, Ky., said he felt called on by God to attend the rally, to represent those who have been impoverished by the coal companies. He cited a Bible verse from Micah 6:8.
"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly," he said.
The protest has been empowering and unifying to watch, said Kara Dotson, 21, of Blacksburg, Va. She traveled from Virginia to attend the march's final leg.
"We have to stand up for the environmental integrity of our community," she said, "because we can't live without clean water or air."
Psera Newman, 34, also of Lexington, held a sign depicting a barren coalfield with the message, "This is no future." Her 13-year-old son, Cosmos, painted it for her.
"The corporations take advantage of people in Appalachia, and this is happening all over Appalachia, not just West Virginia," Newman said. "We have to save one mountain at a time."
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.