The Southwest Virginia-based Spearhead Trail system is rolling into the new year with momentum. Ridership on the Virginia-side trail is up and additional trails are now being planned.
The off-road ATV system will eventually extend more than 500 miles across Southwest Virginia, with additional trails being developed in Tazewell and Buchanan counties.
According to Shawn Lindsey, director of the Spearhead Trail system in Tazewell County, a new trail is planned that will connect with the Richlands area. Once it is completed, total mileage on the Spearhead system in Tazewell County will be about 200 miles.
The long-term plan is to connect all counties in the Spearhead Trail system, including Tazewell, Buchanan, Russell, Dickenson, Wise, Scott and Lee and the city of Norton.
In the near future, the Spearhead Trail will also connect with the Hatfield-McCoy system in neighboring West Virginia, which has about 700 miles of additional ATV trails in the Mountain State. The long-planned connector route will link the Spearhead and Hatfield-McCoy trails between the Pocahontas and Bramwell communities.
Once the connector route is constructed, ATV tourists will be able to navigate both trail systems, and both states, without interruption.
Such a connector route would also further enhance the region’s image as an ATV mecca while boosting local tourism efforts.
But the Spearhead Trail system, just like the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system, is in need of additional lodging and related accommodations to serve those ATV tourists who are traveling to Southwest Virginia to ride the off-road trails.
One governmental entity that is working to help entrepreneurs expand in ATV and other businesses is the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority. VCEDA announced just last week that funding had been awarded to Daisy’s Cabins LLC, which will add an additional cabin to the company’s Hoot Owl Hideaway in Grundy, Va., which is located near the Spearhead’s Coal Canyon Trail.
We are pleased to see continued growth along the Spearhead Trail system.
ATV tourism is a true growth engine for our region, and an important component of ongoing economic diversification efforts.
Local governments have been welcoming new tourism businesses, but additional investments are needed to help provide the accommodations that out-of-state tourists need. This includes lodging, food and service facilities for the visitors.
It is our hope that more entrepreneurs will step up in the new year to help meet this growing need along both the Spearhead and Hatfield-McCoy trail systems.
More facilities like the cabin project in Buchanan County are needed to accommodate the ATV tourists.