By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Residents and horse owners living near a proposed ATV resort in the Shinbrier Mountain area plan to voice their concerns when the Mercer County Commission meets in September.
During the Aug. 13 meeting of the Mercer County Commission, business partners introduced a plan to open a facility called the Coal Camp ATV Resort. Plans call for building 50 turn-of-the-century cottages as well as a restaurant and an ATV wash. Entrepreneurs hope to serve the ATV enthusiasts now coming to the Pocahontas Trail, the Mercer County Branch of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail.
Susan Gullion, a resident of the Shinbrier Mountain community, said she learned about the resort after reading about it in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Gullion stated that she and her neighbors did not want the project.
“We are a horse community of older folks who ride on this mountain,” she said. “Horses and ATVs don’t mix, and we were here first. We have contacted the county commission and we plan to speak at the next meeting to voice our opposition to this project.”
Gullion added her community’s small roads would not be able to handle the additional traffic, and that residents were concerned about the devaluation of their property. People have invested in the restoration of their homes.
The Shinbrier Mountain area has four property owners and seven families. Two of those families are renters, Gullion said.
“They don’t want to put up with ATVs. We like our peace and quiet,” she said.
Anthony Simpkins of Bramwell, Matthew Kesler of Christiansburg, Va., and Brent Harrison of Blacksburg, Va., visited the county commission to explain their plans for the resort. Simpkins and Kesler were not available Monday. Harrison said Monday he had not heard any objections to the plan.
Guests would take their ATVs to the resort on trailers, then ride the ATVs on local roads to the Pocahontas Trailhead near Bramwell, he said.
“I don’t think we would be on anybody’s horse lands,” Harrison said. “We’re not planning to build any trails on anybody’s land to access the Hatfield-McCoy Trail.”
Harrison said the entrepreneurs wanted to be good neighbors and would talk with people who had objections.