Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

July 12, 2014

Va. Spearhead Trail construction will soon link ATV trail systems

POCAHONTAS, Va. — Construction is now underway on a 30-mile segment of the new Spearhead Trail project in Tazewell County.

“We just sort of quietly started construction,” Tazewell County Administrator Jim Spencer said Friday. “We are working as quickly as we can to get it done. The trail connects Boissevain to Pocahontas. There are approximately 30 miles of the trail to be constructed. We are about halfway to being done.”

The construction will bring the new Virginia-side ATV trail system within reach of the neighboring West Virginia-based Hatfield-McCoy Trail system near the town of Bramwell in Mercer County thus creating a new two-state tourism link for the region.

The Spearhead Trail is a project of the Southwest Virginia Regional Recreational Authority. The authority will operate the trail system in Tazewell County with the trailhead planned at the old Boissevain Coal Miner’s Memorial Park. The Spearhead Trail will ultimately extend through seven Southwest Virginia counties. The first section of the Spearhead Trail opened last year in Wise County.

Spencer said in-house county crews are constructing the Tazewell County segment of the Spearhead Trail.

“Our guys are going as fast as they can do it,” Spencer said. “We are building it in-house with county forces. We are working in conjunction with the (Southwest Virginia Regional Recreational Authority) and we will turn the trail over to them to operate.”

Spencer said the new trail system has been four years in the making for Tazewell County.

“We could not begin construction until the Southwest Virginia Recreational Authority issued us a notice to proceed,” Spencer said. “They could not give us a notice to proceed until they had all of the land agreements in place. It wasn’t the county. It was the Southwest Virginia Regional Recreational Authority that was getting the land agreements. This is a joint project.”

Spencer said an opening ceremony will be held in the near future between Tazewell County officials and the Southwest Virginia Regional Recreational Authority.

“We are looking forward to that,” Spencer said of the opening of the trail system. “It will be a great day for the community.”

The Virginia General Assembly created the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority in 2009 for the purpose of overseeing the development and management of the seven-county Spearhead Trail system. The intent at the time was to create a new economic development and tourism engine for Southwest Virginia through the development of new trails for ATV riders, bikers, hikers, horseback riders, naturalists and others.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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