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New ATV trail system eyed for central West Virginia

 

Charleston Gazette-Mail file photo by The Associated Press The popularity of southern West Virginia’s Hatfield-McCoy Trail System led Marshall University’s Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute to begin studies into the feasibility of a similar network in the central part of the state. The findings are expected to be presented to the Legislature at next month’s session.
Charleston Gazette-Mail file photo by The Associated Press
The popularity of southern West Virginia’s Hatfield-McCoy Trail System led Marshall University’s Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute to begin studies into the feasibility of a similar network in the central part of the state. The findings are expected to be presented to the Legislature at next month’s session.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A feasibility study for a proposed ATV trail system in central West Virginia similar to the Hatfield-McCoy Trails network in the southern section of the state will be presented to the state Legislature next month, following more than a year of study by the Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute at Marshall University and a series of public workshops in a seven-county area.

The study area for the new trail system includes Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Gilmer, Lewis, Nicholas and Webster counties.

A 5,000- to 10,000-acre tract of land somewhere in the seven-county region will be identified as the most feasible site for the trails system, based on environmental features, existing visitor amenities such as lodging and restaurants, future development possibilities and travel patterns in the study area, according to Amanda Payne, project leader for the Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute (RTI).

Like the Hatfield-McCoy system, the central West Virginia ATV trail network would be developed on private land through lease agreements with property owners. The RTI produced the feasibility study that led to the creation of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails system, now more than 500 miles long.

“We are staying away from all public lands in the seven-county area, including the Monongahela National Forest and any state lands…

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