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County announces new ATV trail system

Located near Tams Mountain, Burning Rock Off-Road Park to have 80 miles of trails
By Fred Pace
Register-Herald Reporter

Since 2005, the Raleigh County Commission has been working to create and establish an all-terrain vehicle trail system in Raleigh County.

“We feel this new ATV trail system will be the largest tourism attraction in Raleigh County in the years to come,” commission president Pat Reed said during Tuesday’s meeting.

Burning Rock Off-Road Park will encompass an approximate 8,000-acre area with 80 miles of trails, according to Reed.

“The area is located off Tams Mountain,” Reed said.

She said for the past two-and-a-half years the commission has been working to establish an area that would be attractive to ATV riders from in and out of the area to come and ride.

“We wanted to look at a public/private contract with a local land owner,” Reed said. “We were very fortunate to have a large land owner in Beaver Coal Co. Ltd. come into the project with us.”

Woody Duba of Beaver Coal says the new ATV park is another attraction to draw more visitors to Raleigh County.

“We have agreed to participate in the extension of utilities to the trailhead and the development of the trailhead amenities,” Duba said. “The trailhead will be located approximately one mile from the Tams Mountain exit of the Coalfields Expressway, just off state Route 16. We are very excited to be a part of such an exciting new tourist attraction.”

The land lease agreement provides for ATV trail development, sale of permits and maintenance and operation of the trail system. The agreement was unanimously approved by the commission.

Reed said the commission was able to employ the Rahall Technology Institute to do mapping and survey work on the project.

“There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this trail system will be successful and will be the key tourism attraction of Raleigh County,” Reed said. “This attraction will fill up our hotels, give added business to our restaurants, our gas stations and other businesses in the region. It will also be a plus for the ATV dealers and repair shops in our area. This is a win-win situation for our area and tourism.”

Promoting the concepts of safety, responsibility and recreation as they relate to ATV use and ownership will also be a part of the park.

“We also want to provide sanctioned ATV trails that are monitored by county officials,” Duba added.

The system will include beginner, intermediate and expert trails.

“This is a great day for Raleigh County,” Reed said. “We plan to have a trailhead that is second to none in southern West Virginia that will provide all the amenities that riders need and want.”

The trail system is not a part of the Hatfield-McCoy trail system.

“This is an independent ATV trail system,” Reed said. “We tried early on to join with the Hatfield-McCoy system, but they would not approve us.”

Duba said it was a goal to eventually become part of the Hatfield-McCoy system, if possible.

“We will continue to explore this,” he said.

The commission also unanimously voted to hire Brian Helmer as the director for the new ATV trail system.

“I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to developing a world-class trail system for Raleigh County,” Helmer said.

Reed said the commission is hopeful the new ATV trial system will be up and running in July.

— E-mail: [email protected]

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