Hatfield-McCoy Officials: ATV Riders Will Soon Be Able To Explore Trails In Mercer

March 2012 Powersport News, Travel

By Greg Jordan

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Bramwell - When Memorial Day weekend arrives, local and visiting all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts can start exploring the newest ATV experience in Mercer County.

Construction on the main portion of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail's new Mercer County branch is complete, Hatfield-McCoy Executive Director Jeff Lusk said last week.

"We're going to start erecting signs on the trail the first part of May and we're going to do a soft opening for Memorial Day," Lusk said.

"The trail will be open, but the trail head will not be done. There will be places for people to buy permits in the town of Bramwell."

Lusk estimated that the finished Mercer County trail will be between 80 to 90 miles long.

"It ended up actually being bigger than we expected," he said. "We built only 10 percent of this system."

The rest of the Mercer County branch consists of existing trails through the mountains that have been linked and improved, Lusk said. Authority workers graded the trails and installed drainage.

"Our goal is always to build less than 10 percent of a system. That lessens our impact," he said.

The trail authority is currently doing a feasibility study to see which of two possible sites near Bramwell could serve as a trailhead facility. One is on U.S. Route 52 near the town, and the other is a former school building between Route 52 and downtown Bramwell, Lusk said.

"We would like to use the existing building. We think it's a better option if it's economically feasible," he said.

"We have to make a decision within the next two weeks."

The goal is to have the study's figures ready for the authority's board of directors by April 1, Lusk said. An early decision would allow the authority to take advantage of the summer weather to complete the trail head project.

The authority will also take the plan to the Mercer County Commission.

"We're excited about this," Lusk said.

"We get daily calls asking when it's going to open. This is going to be a huge for that part of Mercer County."

Plans calls for having trail links to the town of Matoaka in Mercer County and Spearhead Trail in neighboring Tazewell County, Va., but those links will not be ready in time for the soft opening, Lusk said. They should be completed by early summer, he added.

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