Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 19, 2014

Pinnacle Rock: Campground facilities needed


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Thanks to the success of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system in Mercer and McDowell counties, the region continues to see a growing number of out-of-town visitors. This is particularly evident in the Bluewell and Bramwell communities where ATV visitors are a common sight. That’s why proposed campground facilities and related upgrades to nearby Pinnacle Rock State Park are not only logical but also necessary.

Most of these visitors to our region are traveling past Pinnacle Rock State Park on their way to the Pocahontas and Indian Ridge trail systems in Bramwell and Northfork. That’s why developing a campground site and other related additions along the 450-acre state park system would make a lot of sense. It’s no secret, after all, that housing and campground-related facilities are still urgently needed along the five-county southern West Virginia trail system. And the need for additional lodging and campground facilities is particularly great in Mercer and McDowell counties.

While local entrepreneurs have been opening restaurants and offering lodging to these ATV enthusiasts, more can and most certainly should be done to extend the stay of these out-of-town visitors, as correctly noted by local Bluewell businessman and community advocate Skip Crane.

“We have all this ATV traffic coming through, and it seems to me that instead of weekends now, it is a year-round business,” Crane said last week. “There are four-wheelers coming in every single day as cold as it has been.”

Crane, and a committee of other leaders and community advocates, are correctly calling for a feasibility study to determine whether a campground could be constructed at Pinnacle Rock State Park. The park itself is only half a mile from the Hatfield-McCoy trailhead near Bramwell. The study would be used in helping to determine what type of facilities and additions could be installed at the park.

Beverly Wellman, executive director of the Bluestone Visitor and Conventions and Bureau, and Jeffrey Lusk, executive director of the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Trail Authority, have drafted a resolution asking for state funding. Crane says the hope is to find funding through sources that would not require the spending of taxpayer’ dollars.

The group also is encouraging local lawmakers to introduce a bill in the current legislative session for a feasibility study for a campground at Pinnacle Rock State Park.

We would urge local lawmakers to act quickly in introducing and supporting such a measure. It is only logical that we take steps today to not only enhance Pinnacle Rock State Park, but also provide urgently needed new accommodations and recreational opportunities to those out-of-town visitors who are already in the area thanks to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail.