Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 3, 2013

Property surrounding ATV trails selling fast

BRAMWELL — Property sitting for years without any buyers is now starting to move along with the ATVs traveling the new branch of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail.

On March 25, the newest stretch of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail, the Pocahontas Trail, marked its first anniversary, said Mayor Louise Stoker of Bramwell. Since that time, vacant properties have been selling throughout the town.

“Several have sold, whether or not it’s for ATV housing or people moving into town, I don’t know. There are several properties that have moved (been sold) since the first of the year. These places have been on the market for quite some time, and they’re going fast.”

Bramwell is best known for its historic downtown and homes, but the entire town extends for three miles, Stoker said. Entrepreneurs have purchased the former Bramwell High School and plan to convert it into ATV lodging. Bramwell Town Hall keeps receiving inquires from interested buyers.

“Absolutely,” Stoker said. “In fact, just last week I had a request. A man was looking for a large amount of property for lodging.”

If property is not available in town, Stoker tries to direct interested parties to nearby sites. Bramwell will still benefit if new enterprises are established near its borders, she said. More businesses continue to open in town.

“Just this last week, we had another house open inside the town,” Stoker said. “There are 10 people staying there at that one house this weekend. And we just celebrated on the (May) 25th the first anniversary of the Pocahontas Trail. We’ve seen a big change in the economy, yes.”

Just down U.S. Route 52, communities like Bluewell and Montcalm are seeing more ATV traffic and interest in property. Local volunteer Skip Crane said he recently counted more than 90 ATVs coming through Bluewell in a little more than an hour.

“We talk about it all the time,” Crane said of local property sales. “I think Mercer County is right now in the speculator stage. People from out of state are starting to buy property, and when locals catch on, it’s going to be too late. Property is being sold in Montcalm, and that’s been unheard of for years.”

Not all the properties being sold are in pristine condition.

“People are starting to buy, for lack of a better word, dilapidated structures. It’s still better than a tent,” Crane said.

Bluewell residents have noted how many of the out-of-state buyers are former West Virginians.

“I’m noticing that it’s a lot of people from North Carolina who used to be West Virginians,” Crane said. “They buy places so they can come here for the weekend.”

Now thoughts are turning to increasing the demand for lodging and other services by offering more activities.

“I’m thinking if we could just come up with things for them to do in the wintertime like cross-country skiing or snowmobiling,” Crane speculated.


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