Committee continues to weigh options for site of Hatfield-McCoy Trail Visitors Center

By CHARLES OWENS Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — A committee charged with selecting a site for the long-planned Hatfield-McCoy Trail Visitors Center in Mercer County will meet once again next week with the hope of reaching a decision.

The committee members met Tuesday at the Mercer County Courthouse, but no decision regarding a site was made. The group did receive a cost evaluation report from an engineering firm regarding the two primary sites being considered for the trailhead, according to committee member and county commissioner Gene Buckner.

“They didn’t look at it from picking a site,” Buckner said of the engineering firm. “They looked at it from a cost evaluation.”

The trailhead, also known as a visitors center, will be developed on either Coaldale Mountain near Bramwell or along Simmons River Road just past the entrance of Montcalm High School. But the local committee must choose one of the two sites for the project. The trailhead will be funded through a $500,000 West Virginia Recreational Trails Program grant recently awarded to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail Authority.

Buckner said the committee will meet again on Wednesday, Oct. 28, with the hope of reaching a decision on a site for the visitors center. The committee will have to make a decision before Nov. 5, which is when the full Hatfield-McCoy Trail Authority board is expected to vote on the location for the Mercer County trailhead.

“I think we will have one (a decision) next Wednesday,” Buckner said.
Buckner said the trailhead will provide a safe parking location for people to park their vehicles before entering the ATV trail system. Items related to the Hatfield-McCoy Trail will also be sold at the site.

Bud Clap and Danny Simmons, both with the Pocahontas Land Corporation, are also serving on the three-member committee working to select the site.

The official Hatfield-McCoy trailhead/visitors center isn’t to be confused with the new Buffalo Trail Visitors Center, a private development that opened for business last week on U.S. Route 52 at the Lorton Lick Road intersection.

As its name implies, the Buffalo Trail Visitors Center is intended to serve as a welcome center for ATV visitors to the region who are coming in to ride the Hatfield-McCoy Trail in Mercer and McDowell counties, as well as the new Spearhead Trail in Tazewell County.

The Buffalo Trail Visitors Center is a project of local entrepreneur Seth Peters, owner of the nearby Buffalo Trail ATV Resort on Lorton Lick Road, near Bluewell.