Volunteer Celeb Stevens removes dead trees to prepare for a kayak launch in honor of fallen firefighter Zach Blankenship this Saturday.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BRAMWELL — The Town of Bramwell is hosting a kayak run at 10 a.m. on Saturday in memory of late firefighter, Zachary Blankenship, and will be showcasing the new kayak trail launch site.

Blankenship passed away on March 15, 2020 after suffering a stroke following a response to a house fire.

“This is the Zach Blankenship Memorial Run,” said Mercer County Commissioner Bill Archer.

The run will be six miles and includes a stop in Bramwell.

“They are going to come out down at Bramwell and honor Zach Blankenship,” said Bramwell Mayor Lou Stoker. “His family is going to be there, an our fire department is going to present a plaque to them.”

The launch site is located on the Bluestone water trail in the Coopers community, and the Bramwell community along with Coopers hope the kayak trail is going to be a new tourist attraction in addition to the ATV trails in that area.

“We have been working for the past five years to develop a water trail system on the Bluestone River,” said Archer. “This is going to be the first public launch site on the Bluestone River.”

Archer also added, “Eventually, we plan to put gravel in here so people can park along with picnic tables and a fire pit.”

The funds for building the site and the signage that will mark it was granted by the National Coal Heritage Area while the acquisition of the property was different.

Plans to add more trails, such as hiking, to the area are in discussions at the moment, but nothing sure has been set.

— Contact Kassidy Brown at kbrown@bdtonline.com

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