New visitor center planned for Hatfield-McCoy trail

BRAMWELL, W.Va. — The key to real estate is simple, location, location, location at least according to the experts. The location of the newest addition to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, the Pocahontas Trail System, has enabled it to quickly become one of the most popular and fastest growing trail locations of the entire network.

“That particular trail has grown ever since its opening,” said Hatfield-McCoy Trail Executive Director Jeff Lusk. “It’s just a very, very popular system and well located for our customers coming up from Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Since its opening its grown faster than any of our systems ever have.”

The area is in Mercer County near the community of Bramwell. It’s located 14 miles from I-77 and Lusk believes the location makes it the perfect spot for the southern visitors center.

“We’d always envisioned having a visitors center as people leave I-77 and come down into Mercer County along U.S. Route 52,” Lusk said. “We’re in the process of hiring an engineering firm to evaluate sites as the potential location for that center.”

A half-Million dollars has been secured for construction of the facility somewhere near the community of Bramwell. Lusk said the idea will be to create something similar to the northern visitors center located along U.S. Route 119 in Boone County near the Little Coal River Trailhead, the most northern of the trails on the Hatfield-McCoy System.

Lusk said they are in the process of accepting bids for engineering firms and once a site is selected the construction should move forward rapidly. The Hatfield-McCoy Systems continues to grow every year. Lusk said they are still seeing growth each year and more than 80 percent of those who buy trail riding permits are from out-of-state. He said their biggest obstacle now is to develop infrastructure. Lusk said the only thing holding them back is a lack of hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment venues to give riders ways to spend their time and money off the trail when they come for an extended visit.

He said they are also finding many who are returning year after year to ride in the southern West Virginia hills.

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