Hatfield-McCoy Trail closures an opportunity for other counties

An editorial from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — While the looming closure of two Hatfield-McCoy trails in Boone and Lincoln counties is an unfortunate development for the seven-county trail authority, the resulting fallout could actually prove to be a boon for Mercer and McDowell counties.

The trails in Boone and Lincoln counties are being closed because the trail land has been sold, according to Hatfield-McCoy Trail Authority Executive Director Jeff Lusk. As a result, the 700-mile trail system will lose about 200 miles of trails if the Little Coal River Trail in Boone County and the Ivy Branch Trail in Lincoln County are closed.

 Lusk said the trail land in Boone and Lincoln counties previously had multiple owners. But a single company has now bought all of the land, and it’s not clear if the new owner will allow the land to still be used for ATV trails.

Lusk says the authority will try to work with the new owner and see if the trails can be reopened. He says he doesn’t yet know the company’s identity because the sales are private transactions.

“We’ll immediately go to work with the new owners to see if we can reopen the systems,” Lusk told the Daily Telegraph last week. “This only impacts our Ivy Branch system and Little Coal River system. There is still over 500 miles of trails.”

If the systems in Boone and Lincoln counties can’t be reopened, their closure could help drive more ATV tourism traffic to the existing trails, including those in Mercer and McDowell counties…

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