Press Release –
“The Hatfield-McCoy Trails has substantially recovered from weekend flooding in Mingo County, West Virginia, and hopes to be back to 100 percent by June 1.” Executive Director Jeffrey T. Lusk said Thursday. “Also, all Hatfield-McCoy equipment not being used to repair the trails is being loaned to the town of Gilbert to help in flood recovery.”
Southern West Virginia was stricken by heavy flooding Saturday, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. Much of the damage was centered in Gilbert in Mingo County. “This was a catastrophic event that most of us have not seen before,” Lusk said. “The Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreational Authority wants to do its part to help the town of Gilbert and businesses in that area. We have all of our crews working overtime to get the trails up and running and every piece of equipment we have that is not pushing dirt in the woods on trails is in Gilbert helping with flood recovery,” he said.
“Gilbert is the centerpiece of our trail system,” Says Lusk. “We lost probably about half of the Rockhouse Trail System and about half of the Buffalo Mountain Trail System.” Rockhouse is located near Gilbert and Buffalo Mountain near Williamson.
The connector to the town of Gilbert was reopened Thursday, with about 70 percent of the Rockhouse and Buffalo Mountain trails also reopened. The connector to Matewan remains closed, but is expected to reopen by May 20.
“We’re going to get through this,” Lusk said. “We’ve been working 12- to 14-hour days since Saturday to get the trails open and to help businesses recover.” The Hatfield-McCoy Trails is a key economic engine for the area, especially in and around Gilbert where many businesses have sprouted since the Trails opened in 2000.
The four other trail systems – Bear Wallow, Indian Ridge, Little Coal and Pinnacle Creek – were largely unaffected and are fully open. The Hatfield-McCoy Trial System was created by the West Virginia Legislature to generate economic development through tourism in nine southern West Virginia counties. It currently operates six systems with more than 500 miles of trails.
Each system is open 365 days a year to ATVs, dirt bikes, select utility vehicles (UTVs), mountain bikes, horses, and hikers. Many of the trail systems also offer community connecting trails that allow visitors to access “ATV-friendly towns” to experience the charm of southern West Virginia.