Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 8, 2013

Spearhead Trail system gets $100,000 boost in Tazewell County

POCAHONTAS, Va. — A $100,000 recreation grant has Tazewell County officials optimistic that construction will soon begin on a new trail system.

The $100,000 grant was awarded to Tazewell County through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) Recreational Trails Program. County Administration Jim Spencer said the county applied for the grant two years ago to help finance the Spearhead Trail system.

“We broke the 53 miles of trails up into two phases.” Spencer said. “This grant from the DCR will pay for the second phase. We have received two other grants, one from a private foundation and one from the tobacco foundation to pay for the first phase.”

Spencer said the county and the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority (SRRA) recently attained an agreement with the state to build on land owned by the Department of Corrections, but still lack one land agreement.

“SRRA has an executed an agreement with the state of Virginia to build the trail on their property,” he said. “We still lack one agreement with a landowner in the area, but once we have that we will start construction. We are very excited about this and about the opportunity it brings to Pocahontas and the entire region.”

Spencer said the county is hoping to bid out construction of the trail as soon as the final land agreement is secured.

“We will end up bidding the project out, having a contractor come in and build it,” he said. “I would love to be able to say construction will start in the spring, but we cannot start construction until we have that final agreement with the landowner. Some of the work will be rehabbing existing trails while some is constructing new trails. We will know more about how long it will take to construct the trail once we have the construction bid out. We want to construct this trail as quickly as possible.”

Even though construction on the trail has not begun, the town of Pocahontas is already looking to bring ATV riders into the area. Spencer said Pocahontas Mayor Ben Gibson, the town’s fire department and others in the area are looking to organize an ATV rally within the town limits.

“We are going to try and meet with the gentleman who wants to sponsor it,” Spencer said. “We think bringing folks in for this will be good for the entire are. This is a prime example of what these trails can do for the area. The plan is to have rally will be within the town of Pocahontas. They are talking at doing a mud bog on property near the fire department. If this event happens, it will be inside the town and the county will support the town in helping this to happen.”

Spencer said an ATV event in Pocahontas has the potential to draw visitors from Bramwell where the Mercer County trailhead for Hatfield-McCoy Trail system is located. Spencer said both towns will be able to benefit from the same ATV traffic coming to the area.

“Once (the really) is established it can become an annual thing as part of the Spearhead Trail,” he said. “We don’t have our trail yet, but we can benefit because these folks will get to see the area. It will be good for both Bramwell and Pocahontas. While these people are here they can get a feel for the Pocahontas area and then ride on the Bramwell trails. This is about working together and benefiting both communities.”

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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