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

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

12/30/15  Start your New Year off on the right foot

12/23/15  The Christmastime Confession of a Poser

12/16/15  What to Do When Your Holidays Kick in

12/9/15  The Miracle on the Mountain

12/2/15  Enjoy free fine-arts this holiday season

11/25/15  The Thanksgiving meal is just the beginning

11/17/15  Separating the Quality of Life from Society

11/10/15  Events that Commemorate Our Veterans

11/3/15  The Last Ride of the Season

10/27/15  A Prime Time and Place to see Raptors

10/20/15  Time to Experience "The New Westmoreland"

10/14/15  A Westsylvanian goes "Into the Wild"

10/7/15  Time can fall with the leaves here

9/29/15  Fall Journeys That Are Destinations

9/22/15  A Festival Capturing the Alleghenies

9/15/15  Secondary Use of Game Lands Now in Season

9/8/15  Experience a truly great story - again

9/1/15  Summer ends with some of our best festivals

8/26/15  Bicycling on the State Game Lands

8/18/15  Cameras can stake out the trash

8/11/15  Share the Trail and Feel the Joy

8/4/15  Sharing the Spotlight on a Big Night

7/28/15  August: A Great Month for Heritage Events

7/21/15  Geocaching: A Way to Get Kids Outdoors

7/14/15  To learn more, listen more

7/7/15  Allegheny outdoor theaters share distinctions

6/30/15  Thank the Italians for Spectacular Fireworks

6/23/15  Summer Events: The big dogs are coming

6/17/15  Volunteers are helping state parks to blossom

6/9/15  Caught in a Clash of Cultures

6/2/15  Lodging for a Trip Back in Time

5/26/15  The Stonycreek: A Destination Is Arriving

5/19/15  The Path of the Flood is quite a ride

5/12/15  Johnstown is Hockeyville - and more

5/5/15  May blossoms in many ways

4/29/15  It was another bad winter - for bad bugs

4/22/15  A Deal That May Make Me Admit My Age

4/15/15  Tracking Forbes Trail on Laurel Hill

4/8/15  Grant programs keep bringing people back

4/1/15  Opening days are on the way

3/24/15  Get involved with Conservation Heritage

3/17/15  Johnstown is Hockey's town

3/10/15  "Hear's a health" to a Celtic band

3/3/15  Plant some plans for outdoor recreation now

2/24/15  Experience the joy of the maple camp

2/18/15  Contribute to the Natural Sciences

2/11/15  The game may be changing on SGLs

2/4/15  How to Dress for Winter Success

1/28/15  Winter is the season for art

1/20/15  Winter enthusiasts must share the trails

1/12/15  These federal fees enrich our lives

1/6/15  A New Year's Resolution You May Keep

12/30/14  2014 was a good year for bicycling

12/23/14  Laurel Summit's Warm Winter Place

12/16/14  Christmas Bird Count: A gift you give and get

12/9/14  We could have another River of the Year

12/2/14  The holidays are a travel season

11/25/14  A Holidays Condiment: The Heinz Exhibition

11/18/14  Transportation programs are funding trails

11/11/14  Our Region's Riches: World-class Water

11/3/14  Changes may be ahead in bicycling

10/28/14  One Simple Answer to Complex Problems

10/21/14  Out of the Friendly Fire

10/14/14  Regional heritage dresses up for Halloween

10/7/14  Hunting a good ride may require a license

9/30/14  Celebrate recreation within the Alleghenies

9/22/14  On Exhibit: the Culture of Indiana County

9/16/14  A Festival Fit for Two Seasons

9/9/14  Celebrate our watershed - without water

9/2/14  A Folk Festival For All of Us

8/26/14  September's Harvest of Cultural Events

8/19/14  Latrobe's Claim to Football Fame

8/12/14  Italian events offer more than great food

8/5/14  Let's take pride in the Westmoreland

7/29/14  Ticks: Don't worry, just be wary

7/22/14  What it means to be a trail town

7/15/14  Bikers, Cyclists and Two-wheeled Passion

7/8/14  Enjoy live music - naturally

7/1/14  Coming Attractions: Historical Theater

6/24/14  Get a view of life before lattes

6/17/14  The show has gone on for 75 years

6/10/14  Forging Dreams from Industrial Heritage

6/3/14  It's prime time for woods walking

5/27/14  Johnstown finds the beauty in its brand

5/20/14  A Reason to be Thankful for Last Winter

5/14/14  Help put a face on outdoor recreation

5/7/14  Mother Nature's Mother's Day Show

4/29/14  Trail Towns: Growing in Number and Recognition

4/22/14  Get your shoes off muddy trails

4/15/14  Join the biggest observance in the world

4/8/14  Hunting the Conemaugh Gap for Connections

4/1/14  The Importance of the Creepy Crawlies

3/26/14  It's time to hunt heritage in the Alleghenies

3/18/14  A special weekend adds to the maple harvest

3/11/14  Anniversaries help Johnstown rebound

3/4/14  Finding Signs of Spring in Late Winter

2/26/14  Sharing Some Readers' Thoughts on Our Heritage

2/19/14  Volunteers are making state parks better

2/12/14  Finding a Mid-winter Memory in Silence

2/5/14  Hunting Our Region's Oldest Structure

1/28/14  The Winter Forecast: Falling Vexations

1/21/14  There's no doubt: This is one tough redoubt

1/14/14  Bicyclists: turning the wheels on good roads

1/7/14  Traditional music can brighten wintertime

12/31/13  Make time for a new New-Year's tradition

12/24/13  Westsylvania and All That Jazz

12/17/13  The Value of Running for River of the Year

12/10/13  Laurel: A Winter Activity Glossary

12/3/13  Holiday events can lift the spirit of your season

11/26/13  Everett and What Might Have Been

11/19/13  Pennsylvania's picking a Trail of the Year

11/12/13  The Power of a Few Well-chosen Words

11/5/13  Hiking: The Great In-between Activity

10/29/13  Let's grow some green lanes

10/22/13  Our industrial heritage is worth experiencing

10/15/13  Fall frames art within the Alleghenies

10/8/13  People still gather to celebrate the harvest

10/1/13  Sampling the Spirits of Sandyvale

9/24/13  How to Enjoy Fall by Slowing Down

9/17/13  Derry's Contribution to American Music

9/10/13  Baseball and Water: All in the Family

9/3/13  Our region's a center for fiber arts

8/27/13  It's time to explore who we are

8/20/13  Event-birth Pains of a Birthplace

8/13/13  Blairsville is making a festival from a lemon

8/6/13  Consider cultural neighborhoods

7/30/13  Shop for experiences as well as food

7/23/13  Our region could become a bicycling destination

7/16/13  Our past makes our events unique

7/9/13  A Battlefield's Big Anniversary

7/3/13  A Good Day for Some Old Buildings

6/25/13  Don't call this recreation area a "reservoir"

6/18/13  Celebrate the legacy of the Lincoln Highway

6/11/13  Celebration of a Point Made

6/4/13  Our hemlocks are under attack

5/28/13  Architecture and tragedy inspire an event

5/21/13  It's time for traditional arts in Huntingdon

5/14/13  Sports festivals show off our Alleghenies

5/7/13  Be one with the river without being in it

4/30/13  Let's brighten and lighten our world

4/23/13  Hunting Allegheny Portage Railroad Heritage

4/16/13  Seeds of tourism are sown in the spring

4/9/13  Transportation needs create odd fellow-travelers

4/2/13  Trails are officially open

3/27/13  Sweet Home Pennsylvania

3/19/13  Birdsong warms a winter morning

3/12/13  Connecting Abe Lincoln to Bad Kitty

3/6/13  It's Saint Patrick's Month

2/26/13  Laurel Summit: Another Place to Celebrate Winter

2/21/13  An architect's passion lives through his buildings

2/14/13  A Look at 20 Years of Preservation Efforts

2/7/13  A Winter Wonder: the Dark-eyed Junco

1/30/13  Visit theaters that are part of the show

1/22/13  The Movement of Sugar Water