Newspaper Column

Dave Hurst, the principal of HMW, writes a syndicated weekly newspaper column that some papers publish under his name and others publish under the name, Westsylvania.

Never heard of Westsylvania? Were it not for the politics of 1776, you could be living or working or visiting in Westsylvania! Settlers in the upper Ohio River Valley petitioned the Continental Congress to create the free territory of Westsylvania. Congress, worried that the proposal would cause in-fighting between Pennsylvania and Virginia (both of which claimed portions of the territory) at a time when the colonies were revolting against Great Britain, buried the petition in committee.

Westsylvania, the column, explores the ways in which the region’s pioneering spirit and sense of independence continue to exist today. The column identifies the natural and cultural qualities that make this region unique. And the column offers travel and activity ideas that will enable you to experience this special place for yourself.

To write to Dave Hurst about the column, e-mail

Currently, Westsylvania is published in these newspapers:

Huntingdon Daily News,
Kittanning Leader Times,
Latrobe Bulletin,
Somerset Daily American
Tyrone Daily Herald

To read columns published during the past year, click on the links to the right.


Some of the earlier columns are in PDF format. If you don't have Adobe Reader, click here: Adobe Reader. The more recent columns are in Microsoft Word. If you don't have Microsoft Word, download the MS Word Viewer: MS Word 2003 Viewer

8/12/20  Getting Sloppy at Sunday on the Square

8/5/20  Life and times can change perspectives

7/29/20  Change: It's all about us

7/22/20  Cautious Ways to Enjoy our Summer

7/15/20  Portraits provide fascinating images of our place

7/8/20  A Declaration of Dependence

7/1/20  People turned to trails during the shutdown

6/24/20  Getting Reacquainted with an Old Friend

6/17/20  Going Green in the Alleghenies

6/10/20  Entering Green with Fresh Thinking

6/3/20  Wildflowers give yard-weeds a good name

5/27/20  Historic Preservation: The Bane of Parking Lots

5/20/20  Let's be cautious out there

5/13/20  There are different shades of red

5/6/20  Trails offer ways to shed bad days

4/29/20  It could be worse; let's not make it so

4/22/20  The Positives of Our COVID-19 Response

4/15/20  The Arts: Offering Other Lifelines

4/8/20  There are signs of hope amid this crisis

4/1/20  Trails: An Important Resource in This Crisis

3/25/20  A Good Season Amid a Challenging Time

3/18/20  New Identities for Old Appalachian Towns

3/11/20  Growing Efforts to Distinguish Who We Are

3/4/20  Somerset tourism is drawing residents

2/26/20  Celebrating a Day that Should Be a Season

2/19/20  Lessons of Baseball and Black History

2/12/20  How to Find Spring in Mid-winter

2/5/20  Art can be a refuge from a mild winter

1/29/20  More to Enjoy About Rail-Trails in 2020

1/22/20  Classical performing arts take the stage

1/15/20  Easy Ways to Steal a Winter Outing

1/8/20  Praying for Another Good Year

1/1/20  On a May Day in January

12/25/19  A Winter Meeting That Is an Event

12/18/19  Nostalgia can make us merry

12/11/19  Hunting: Hope is in season

12/4/19  'Tis the Season - Ready or Not

11/27/19  Giving Thanks for Meaningful Work

11/20/19  Enjoying the First Snow - Takeout Style

11/13/19  Lights That Push Back the Long Dark

11/6/19  Let's get ready for a lot of snow

10/30/19  New Reasons to Love Trails

10/23/19  Enjoying Autumn Without the Foliage

10/16/19  Johnstown's steel sculptures are still moving

10/9/19  Life in Impressive Times

10/2/19  The Challenges of Capturing Time in a Bottle

9/25/19  The 25-year View: Cause for Celebration

9/18/19  A Day to Celebrate our Special Fields

9/11/19  The Colorful Cloth of Our Ethnic Heritage

9/4/19  When Music, Industry, Art and History Meet

8/28/19  The Challenges of New Uses for Old Churches

8/21/19  Trail-event season is here

8/14/19  Reimagining the Alleghenies Through Art

8/7/19  The Hard Part of Kayaking: Deciding Where to Go

7/31/19  A Work Exhibit that's a Work in Progress

7/24/19  A Beautiful Place to Knap

7/17/19  The Green Book: A Guide Around Jim Crow

7/10/19  Riding the West Penn Again

7/3/19  All the Alleghenies are a stage

6/26/19  Learn the basics to enjoy boating

6/19/19  Using Natural Resources to Attract Students

6/12/19  The Joining of Art, History and Education

6/5/19  Why We Should Celebrate Caves and Karsts

5/29/19  A Good Time to Think About Blight

5/22/19  The CVC is reclaiming its namesake

5/15/19  Researchers Wanted: No Degree Required

5/8/19  Measuring the Worth of Water

5/1/19  On the Celebration of Preservation

4/24/19  Hunting for Another Horseshoe Curve

4/17/19  A Show in the Salamander Capital of the World

4/10/19  Reflections Upon a Hoppy Snowfall

4/03/19  It's almost time for Opening Day ... for trails

3/27/19  Pick How and When to Celebrate Spring

3/20/19  Maple Weekend's an international hit

3/13/19  An Important Exhibit to See in Johnstown

3/6/19  Laurel Highlands tourism grants are growing

2/27/19  Sunday hunting won't solve conservation issues

2/20/19  Nature's messing with maple season

2/13/19  Winter beauty followed the polar vortex

2/6/19  You've got to be opportunistic to ski

1/30/19  Parsing Home: Defining a Literary Region

1/23/19  It's a good time for fresh optimism

1/16/19  Learning a Trail Lesson in Florida

1/9/19  The Most Precious Christmas Gifts of All

1/2/19  The Year of the Lord 2019: Please!

12/26/18  The Forging of an Extraordinary Gift

12/19/18  Fine art can cure holiday season stress

12/12/18  How to Stay Warm on the Mountain: Serve Others

12/5/18  Welcome Winter: Proper Attire Required

11/28/18  Ebensburg: The Galveston of the Northeast

11/21/18  It's time to follow the shepherds

11/14/18  Where People Stand on Falling Back

11/7/18  A Trip to the Eye of the Storm

10/31/18  A Tale of Two Townships

10/24/18  The Suspense of a Green Autumn

10/17/18  Fall Foliage and Halloween mean train time

10/10/18  In Praise of Zymology and DIY History

10/3/18  At Summer's End: Hope for a Glorious Autumn

9/26/18  Outlander Experiences in the Alleghenies

9/19/18  Economic Opportunity in a Preservation Plan

9/12/18  Book festivals make literature an experience

9/5/18  Social media is stressing Mother Nature

8/29/18  A Historic Site with More Than One Story to Tell

8/22/18  It's the Alleghenies music season

8/15/18  Into the Woods While the Ticks Are Chilling

8/8/18  Bridging Great Divides near Blairsville

8/1/18  Penn's Woods: Celebrating a Comeback Story

7/25/18  From the Stream Team to Penguin Court

7/18/18  Learning from the Adventure Club

7/11/18  The Wesmoreland's Welcome: A Legacy

7/4/18  Thunder with no rain: Is it too much to ask?

6/27/18  The Alleghenies: Good Company on Father's Day

6/20/18  Free-range Dogs: Unhealthy for Roadies

6/13/18  Counter Mass Killings with Mass Caring

6/06/18  A Major Event 40 Years in the Making

5/30/18  The value of preservation exceeds what's preserved

5/23/18  A Day of Immigrant Culture

5/16/18  Celebrate a most-amazing transformation

5/9/18  A Month to Commemorate a Colorful Year

5/2/18  First Ride on a Rare Day

4/25/18  Hunting a Place that has no Trace

4/18/18  Finding Consensus on Spring and Earth Day

4/11/18  There was a lot of Mr. McFeely in Mr. Rogers

4/4/18  Taking a Fresh Look at the Kiski-Conemaugh

3/28/18  Historic preservation works when buildings work

3/21/18  Contributions can build a bridge to a better region

3/14/18  The Lessons of the Irish

3/7/18  Promoting Our Recreational Resources

2/28/18  Get ready for spring - and ticks

2/21/18  A Season of the Bitter and the Sweet

2/14/18  We can learn much from naive artists

2/7/18  Groundhog Day: The Start of Thinking Spring

1/31/18  PA Historical Markers: Something we share

1/24/18  Let's be considerate out there

1/17/18  Immigrant stories are inspiring, not controversial

1/10/18  The Beginning of a Better Year Outdoors

1/3/18  Friend or Foe of Nature: It's time to choose

12/27/17  Good Ways to End a Bad Year

12/20/17  Vote Regionally for River of the Year

12/13/17  Thoughts from the Heart of Hunting Season

12/6/17  This is our season for preparation

11/29/17  We need to appreciate the Alleghenies

11/22/17  A New Crossing Over a Deep Place

11/15/17  It's time to help those who help our community

11/8/17  Converts can be tools for trail development

11/1/17  The Alchemy of Allegheny Arts and Heritage

10/25/17  A Great Allegheny Passage Goodbye

10/18/17  There's power in positive actions

10/11/17  AMD treatment is a never-ending effort

10/4/17  Autumn: The journey is the destination

9/27/17  A partnership is sheltering a new generation

9/20/17  A Busy Calendar of Recreation Destinations

9/13/17  Saltsburg has the look of a recreation town

9/6/17  Celebrating a Heritage of Working Together

8/30/17  Building Better Recreation Destinations

8/23/17  Our region could benefit from the 9/11 Trail

8/16/17  The Alleghenies offer quite the Stage

8/9/17  Event planners enrich the Alleghenies

8/2/17  Taking the Cure for Writer's Muddle

7/26/17  Rail-trails: New Ways to Feel the Love

7/19/17  Water helps to define our place and culture

7/12/17  A Bad Time of Year for Two Trees

7/5/17  PennDOT wants to hear your concerns

6/28/17  Irritation hints of regional progress

6/21/17  Try some Alleghenies history served warm

6/14/17  Playing Ball within the Alleghenies

6/7/17  Memorial Day in a Memorable Place

5/31/17  Make National Trail Day your day

5/24/17  Considering Our Tourism Promotion Paradox

5/17/17  Exercise to Improve Community Health

5/10/17  Growing Memories at Farmers' Markets

5/3/17  A new rail-trail has a long history

4/26/17  Good things are happening in our Alleghenies

4/19/17  Retiring Views from the Bicycle Saddle

4/12/17  Our national parks are healthy and growing

4/5/17  Heritage Hunting on a Private Preserve

3/29/17  Mountain biking: Now a Sport for Kids

3/22/17  Enjoy the woods - but be prepared

3/15/17  Time To Do Some Spring Cleaning

3/8/17  Something's not right about this season

3/1/17  This Unusual Season's Different Perspectives

2/22/17  Celebrate a Month of Celtic Saints

2/15/17  Birdsong is welcome, just not informative

2/8/17  Bridging Literature, Art and the Public

2/1/17  New Mountain Bike Trail Benefits Everyone

1/25/17  Nature Centers: A Cure for Cabin Fever

1/18/17  The Value of Historical Buildings

1/11/17  This regional trail group thinks locally

1/4/17  Drones: A Gift of Responsibility

12/28/16  There's hope in the winter solstice

12/21/16  The Great Story of Dunbar's Special Gift

12/14/16  Interesting Gifts Found Within the Alleghenies

12/7/16  The Joys of the Hunt: No Gun Needed

11/30/16  A Vote for 911 Victims and Our Region

11/23/16  Celebrate heritage this holiday season

11/16/16  Let's preserve our Alleghenies' individuality

11/9/16  Diversifying Efforts to Fight Invasive Plants

11/2/16  Time to Get Ready for the Warm Season

10/26/16  We're building what bicyclists love

10/19/16  John Brown's Lessons for Today

10/12/16  It is an exciting time for tourism promotion

10/5/16  This is the year to see national parks

9/28/16  A Simple Answer to Complex Problems

9/21/16  Picture an exhibition combining art and nature

9/14/16  The colors of late summer are coming out

9/7/16  To avoid Lyme disease, get to know ticks

8/31/16  Consider what you are celebrating on Labor Day

8/24/16  It's time to reap a harvest of festivals

8/17/16  Show your visitors the sights along rail-trails

8/10/16  Preservationists contribute to the community

8/3/16  A Laurel Highlands Icon's Changing Image

7/27/16  Meet a pair of guides to better health

7/20/16  We like keeping our state parks natural

7/13/16  Many people are needed to capture a river

7/6/16  The birds are putting on a show

6/29/16  Alleghenies Anniversaries: Earplugs Optional

6/22/16  Where to Hike When It is Tough to Walk

6/15/16  The Makings of Dreams and Memories

6/8/16  It's June: time to get outdoors

6/1/16  Johnstown is a festival town

5/25/16  One site's stuff is another site's treasure

5/18/16  Tell people about a place that matters

5/11/16  Bicycle events are sprouting this spring

5/4/16  Pennsylvania's green law is threatened

4/27/16  A Heritage Hunt for Mineral Wealth

4/20/16  A Week to Remember the Lost Children

4/13/16  A hardwoods holiday is coming soon

4/6/16  It's time to enhance bicycling here

3/30/16  An American Heritage: Fighting the Excise

3/23/16  Artisans are distilling our heritage

3/16/16  Huntingdon's Chain of Destinations

3/9/16  Fall in with Westmoreland's March

3/2/16  Celebrate the approach of spring

2/24/16  Crankie fests will brighten a winter weekend

2/17/16  Taking Out the Trash Who Dump It

2/10/16  Mountain biking is building here

2/3/16  When the Heavens Came to Earth

1/27/16  A Call for More Sledding Hills

1/20/16  Don't ruin a perfect winter day

1/13/16  Get Your Feet Wet in Sugar Water

1/6/16  Bicycle sojourns will blossom in 2016