Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 23, 2013

Rustic cabins: More housing for ATV visitors

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Working to develop adequate lodging facilities to accommodate ATV visitors to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system is still one of the biggest challenges facing leaders in southern West Virginia. But the good news is they are getting help from proactive leaders in neighboring Southwest Virginia, who are hard at work developing the new Spearhead Trail system.

It was announced just earlier this week that the Tazewell County Recreational Development Authority is actively looking for private individuals or entities interested in developing a number of rustic, single-room cabins and facilities for ATV tourists.

The cabins are proposed to be developed near a trailhead site in the Boissevain community. This would benefit ATV visitors to both the Spearhead Trail and the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system. The trailhead property in Boissevain has between three to five acres available for cabins, according to Tazewell County Administrator Jim Spencer. How many cabins would be installed at the site  is up to the person or entity the RDA selects, but Spencer said he believes the site could accommodate 10 to 15 cabins.

Spencer says the RDA will be looking for applicants that have a good business plan and financing. He correctly adds that the local economy will benefit from the new ATV trail only if visitors can find accommodations that allow them to extend their time in the area.

The first section of the Spearhead Trail system is now open in Wise County. It will extend through seven Southwest Virginia counties, including Tazewell where officials are ready to roll on construction. But the only hiccup is a land agreement that officials are still working to finalize. Spencer is hoping that construction can begin by spring 2014 on the Boissevain and Pocahontas sections of the Spearhead Trail.

It is good to see that our Virginia-side leaders are continuing to take a proactive approach toward meeting ATV lodging needs in Southwest Virginia.

As more trails open, the more out-of-town visitors we can expect to see across Mercer, Tazewell and McDowell counties.

That, in return, means additional revenue for area convenience stores, gas stations, hotels and motels, bed and breakfast facilities, ATV shops, department stores and malls. It’s the best kind of homegrown tourism that the six southern West Virginia and seven Southwest Virginia counties can possibly hope for.