Welch is similar to Johnstown, PA (previously) in that it’s dying; the county it sits in has lost 80% of its population over two generations. And the shuttering of the town’s Walmart drained any lingering hope for the town’s survival.
Most of the residents aren’t bitter, but one person interviewed said:
It’s ridiculous. People round here can’t get healthcare, they can’t get jobs and now the good food has gone. We are not getting our basic needs met. People are dying young.
What’s ridiculous is people expecting services airlifted to them in the middle of nowhere. No one would have sympathy for someone today who drove off hours off the main road, set-up camp in the woods, and decried the absence of a good grocery store.
People talk a lot about environmental sustainability, but what about economic sustainability? Putting money into towns like Welch is like subsidizing rotary phones; you may as well be pouring it down the drain. If its residents want a better future, they have to be willing to move.