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By GREG JORDAN

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

WELCH — Two new ATV trail connections opening today in McDowell County will give visitors direct access to the city of Welch and the town of Kimball, the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority’s executive director said Tuesday.

“As of in the morning (today), we’ll have the town of Kimball and the city of Welch will be connected to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail in the Indian Ridge system,” Executive Director Jeffrey Lusk said. “This will allow riders of the trails to go into those communities to get food and fuel and to stay. These are two new towns that weren’t on the system. Up until today, the only two towns that were connected were Northfork and Keystone.

Lusk said this was a good development for the trail system in McDowell County.

“We’re really excited. There are lots of restaurants in Welch that riders would just love to visit, and you’ve got a great little Greek place to eat at in Kimball that is truly unique to the area. It’s called Ya’Sou. Our riders will love it; it’s so unique. Places like that and the Sterling Drive-In (near Welch) are just real novelties for our riders. You don’t have many drive-ins anymore and you don’t have many Greek restaurants. We’re just really excited. Having two more towns connected to the trail just spider webs out and creates new opportunities. Now you could put a lodge in Kimball and put a lodge in Welch and ride right out to the trail.”

The new trail links open today.

“We’ve already put the maps out, but the official opening for us in in the morning,” Lusk said.

The new Warrior Trail will connect with Gary and Welch. ATV riders will be able to travel from the town of Bramwell to the town of War starting on Labor Day, he added. More lodging opportunities are needed to help McDowell County’s communities benefit from the increase ATV tourism traffic.

“We’re opening the Warrior Trail System up on Labor Day Weekend,” Lusk said. “We’re in desperate need of places to stay in War, Gary and Welch come Labor Day Weekend.

Tourism traffic continues to grow on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail’s overall system, Lusk stated. Last year, overall permit sales were up by 15.1 percent, and both Mercer and McDowell Counties had the highest growth in sales. 

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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