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Three articles on the Hatfield-McCoy motorized and multi-use trails system being developed in West Virginia.

Hatfield-McCoy Trails Get Six Million Dollars of Support


Map West Virginia

The Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area, a multi-use trail project being developed in southern West Virginia, has received $6.25 million in funding support from the West Virginia Legislature. Project supporters are encouraged that this funding support will enable them to open the first 300-mile trail segment by the year 2000, and to rapidly complete the balance of the 2,000 mile trail system in the following years.

Photo: kid on motorcycle
 

A bill passed by the Legislature in the closing hour of its 1998 session requires the West Virginia Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority to provide the funding for the trails project. Under the bill, the Parkways Authority would pay $250 thousand to the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority in fiscal year 1998 from its available revenue. Upon specified conditions being met, the Parkways Authority would issue up to $6 million in new revenue bonds for funding projects of the Hatfield-McCoy Authority. If for any reason the conditions for issuance of new revenue bonds can not be met, the Parkways Authority would continue paying $250 thousand to the Hatfield-McCoy Authority in each of the next four fiscal years. Funding through the Parkways Authority was deemed appropriate because the trails project will be located entirely within a 75-mile radius of the West Virginia Turnpike, thus qualifying it as a tourism and economic development project within the interest area of the Parkways Authority.

The bill is awaiting the signature of Governor Cecil Underwood to become law. When approved, it will become effective July 1 of this year. The Governor is a strong supporter of the Hatfield-McCoy project and was instrumental in getting the law passed by the Legislature. He is also expected to help assure that the conditions imposed by the bill on the issuance of the revenue bonds can be met.

Speaking for the Hatfield-McCoy Coalition, John English said, "This is a very significant victory. It gives the Hatfield-McCoy project the resources needed to actually put trails on the ground. To all of you who have been patiently waiting for so long to ride on these trails, the goal is now in sight. If all goes as planned, we'll have some test rides in 1999 and a grand opening in 2000."

Hatfield-McCoy Coalition Executive Director Leff Moore noted with great appreciation the many calls, letters, and postcards from Hatfield-McCoy Trail Scouts and members of the American Motorcyclist Association to the West Virginia Governor and Legislature that helped win support for the bill. "We know we wouldn't have gotten this funding without the tremendous support of the recreational users throughout the country who want to come and ride on these trails. If you helped with that effort, you can be proud of this victory," Moore said.

Those who would like to monitor progress of the Hatfield-McCoy trails can join the Hatfield-McCoy Trail Scouts, a 10,000 plus national group of project supporters. Membership is free. Send your name, address, and telephone number to Hatfield-McCoy Trail Scouts, P.O. Box 65, Charleston, WV 25321, or call (304) 727-7441.


Hatfield-McCoy Trails Project Gets Supplementary Appropriation

The Governor and Legislature have included $750,000 in a supplementary appropriation for the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area in southern West Virginia. The funds, which come from a surplus in lottery profits in the current fiscal year, will be available immediately to continue planning and development of the project.

These funds complement the earlier appropriation of $6.25 million for the project that will become available after July 1 when the new fiscal year begins. This latest commitment of funds brings the total appropriation to $7 million.

Project supporters say that this funding will enable them to open the first 300-mile trail segment by the year 2000, and to rapidly complete the balance of the 2,000 mile trail system in the following years. When completed, the project promises to draw more than 600,000 annual visitors to the project area, adding more than $100 million each year to the area's economy, and creating more than 3,200 new jobs.

"This is a good investment for West Virginia," says Leff Moore, Executive Director of the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Development Coalition. "When these trails are opened and tourists start coming to use them, it will have an economic impact that will rival snow skiing and white water rafting. It will make southern West Virginia a major tourism destination."

"This $750,000 supplemental appropriation is especially important because the money will be available immediately," notes John English, Washington Representative of the Hatfield-McCoy Coalition. "The Coalition needs this money right now to continue its planning and development effort so that we can stay on target for opening the first trails in the year 2000. We want to thank Governor Underwood and the Legislature for supporting this important project."

When completed, the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area will provide 2,000 miles of recreational trail open to the public for horseback riding, mountain bicycling, and operation of ATVs, off-highway motorcycles, and sport utility vehicles. The trails will meander through the mountains and hills of Boone, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mingo, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties in southern West Virginia.

Those who would like to monitor progress of the Hatfield-McCoy trails can join the Hatfield-McCoy Trail Scouts, a 10,000 plus national group of project supporters. Membership is free. Send your name, address, and telephone number to Hatfield-McCoy Trail Scouts, P.O. Box 65, Charleston, WV 25321, or call (304) 727-7441.


Ride a dirt bike, create a job

Public officials are beginning to recognize the economic benefits of a well-managed off-road recreation program in rural areas that have suffered through tough economic times.

One indication of that can be found in the recent signing of a five party memorandum regarding the 2.7 million-acre Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area in southern West Virginia. The project will develop thousands of miles of trails for off-highway motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, mountain bicycles, equestrians and hikers.

The agreement includes both long and short-term goals and objectives to manage, maintain and develop the region, while also helping Marshall University create a specialized curriculum to train students in off-highway trails management. One long-term goal of the project is to expand the existing project area to include parts of Kentucky and Virginia, eventually setting aside more than 5 million acres for off-highway recreation enthusiasts.

Based on an Army Corps of Engineers study , the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Area will create an estimated 3,200 direct and indirect new jobs in the area. It will also add more than $100 million to the economy of the region that includes Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, McDowell, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

The partnership consists of Marshall University, the Hatfield-McCoy Recreation Development Coalition, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Army Corps of Engineers and the AMA.

For more information, contact the AMA's Government Relations Department at (614) 891-2425.

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Updated March 15, 2007

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