Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 13, 2014

Local leaders work toward campsites at Pinnacle Rock State Park

BLUEWELL — Visitors riding four-wheelers have become a common sight in the southern end of Mercer County, so residents hope to extend the impact of tourist spending by creating accommodations at nearby Pinnacle Rock State Park.

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

The Pocahontas Trail in Mercer County, a branch of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail, has brought thousands of visitors to Mercer County since its completion. Local entrepreneurs have been opening restaurants and offering lodging to these ATV enthusiasts, but more can be done to extend the visitors’ stays, Crane said.

“I just think that Mercer County needs to tap into this influx of tourism, so I went to (Editor) Samantha Perry at the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Marie Blackwell, and local leader Beverly Wellman and I talked to them about my concerns. In the summer of 2013, we sat down and we all talked, and we decided that we were going to do something about it. We had an idea.”

The idea is to do a feasibility study to determine whether a campground could be constructed at Pinnacle Rock State Park, Crane said. The park is only half a mile from the Hatfield-McCoy trailhead near Bramwell.

“We’ve done our homework. There are over 450 acres that the state owns,” he said.

Local builder Chandler Swope and photographer Mel Grubb have been asked to fly over the park and take pictures of the property so elected officials can see the layout for the feasibility study, Crane said.

The study would help determine what type of facilities could be installed.

“Should we have motor home sites, camp sites, or camper sites? That’s why we need a feasibility study. We wouldn’t want to spend that money if it wasn’t necessary,” Crane stated.

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

“Next step, we are hoping our legislators will introduce a bill in the upcoming session regarding the possibility of a feasibility study for a campground at Pinnacle Rock State Park,” Crane said.

A campground and other new facilities would benefit not only Mercer County, but also neighboring McDowell County, he added.

“I just think the tourism possibilities are endless,” Crane concluded. “We just have to get creative. They’re endless.”

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

 

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