Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 17, 2012

Bluefield committee to add visitors center and trailhead

BLUEFIELD — Trail officials are hoping a new visitor center will encourage more local residents to hike and bike the trails at Bluefield’s Lotito Park.

The new visitor center  will be moved into the park Tuesday and will serve as a trailhead and information center for the trail system. Mickey Pellillo, chair of the Bluefield Recreational Trails Committee, said the new building is just the start of the committee’s plans to showcase the trails at city park.

“It is a visitor center and storage center for the hiking and biking trails,” Pellillo  said. “Eventually, there will be brochures, scavenger hunts for the kids, and a meeting place for guiding hikes. It will also have a little bench for people to sit on. We are hoping to expand in the long-term and provide people with rental biking helmets. It’s the welcoming center for the trails kind of like the train station is the welcoming center for the train.”

Pellillo said the new building is just a part of efforts to show residents and visitors what the park’s trail system has to offer.

“We are hoping to have our own little presence so people can see where the trails are,” she said. “We are going to put up more signs and let people know what is available to them in the park. The building will be going in our access parking lot across from the Yakkity-Yak playground.”

According to Pellillo, there are between 12 and 15 miles of trails in Lotito Park.

“We have one trail that is called the Family Friendly Trail and it is gravel,” she said. “It is 1.1 miles long and is the widest and in many ways the easiest trail. It kind of follows the perimeter of the road up in the woods. It has nature signs, benches and picnic tables for people to enjoy. We have five other marked trails and little connector trails so you can get from one trail to the other easily. We have about 12 to 15 miles of developed trails in the park.”

 Pellillo said the trails cater to a variety of outdoor activities.

“I know there are a lot of runners and mountain bikers in the area who take advantage of the trails,” she said. “We have mountain bike groups that meet up there and ride one day a week. In the last three or four years we’ve had a big mountain bike race in the park every May, and the mountain bikers really like the trails as well. We are hoping to open up the Family Friendly Trail to snowshoers in the winter time as well. It is great for exercise and physical fitness and general health.”

Visitors to the park can also see a wide array of nature on the trails, Pellillo said.

“It is also beautiful out there,” she said. “There are deer, foxes and wild turkeys in the park. There are lots and lots of gorgeous wildflowers. Thousands of trilliums and lady slippers bloom on the trails in the spring. It’s just a gorgeous place.”

Pellillo said several local foundations and organizations have donated funds to help make the new welcome center a reality and donations are still being accepted.

“We are trying to expand the opportunities that the trail provides,” Pellillo said. “A lot of local foundations have donated money to make this possible. We are still taking donations as well. We have a set up a fund at the Community Foundation of the Virginias, Inc. It would not be possible without them and the community.”

— Contact Kate Coil at

kcoil@bdtonline.com

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