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Cornershot: 'Fire on the Mountain' details Terrys' stand against pipeline

Cornershot: 'Fire on the Mountain' details Terrys' stand against pipeline


It has been two years since a mother and daughter spent more than a month in the trees of their Bent Mountain homestead, blocking chainsaw crews from cutting a path for a natural gas pipeline.

But the spirit of their stand against the Mountain Valley Pipeline still burns brightly, as reflected by a documentary released in July.

“Fire on the Mountain” is the story of Theresa “Red” Terry and her daughter, Theresa Minor Terry. The elder Terry was 61 years old when she climbed a ladder about 50 feet to a tree stand. She was soon joined by her daughter, who scaled a nearby tree in the pipeline’s path.

For 34 days, the Terrys refused to come down.

They eventually did, forced by legal action that included a charge of trespassing on their own land, and their beloved trees were promptly cut down.

Yet their fortitude — and Red’s blunt and sometimes profane words about a private company using the laws of eminent domain to take land that has been in her family for seven generations — drew national attention to a widespread, grassroots-based opposition to the pipeline that continues today.

The documentary, released July 20 by ARTivism Virginia and Lights & Years, can be seen at or

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Laurence Hammack covers environmental issues, including the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and business and enterprise stories. He has been a reporter for The Roanoke Times for more than three decades.

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