Hatfield-McCoy trails now 200 miles shorter due to property sales

By GREG JORDAN Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BRAMWELL — Losing 200 miles of ATV trails in other counties to property sales could funnel more ATV tourism to Hatfield-McCoy trail branches in Mercer and McDowell Counties.

The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System is losing the Ivy Branch Trail in Lincoln County and the Little Coal River Trail in Boone County to land sales, Jeffrey Lusk, the trail system’s executive director, said Tuesday.

“The property has been sold,” Lusk said. “We’re going to work closely with the land owner once they take possession to try and reopen the system.”

The trail land in Lincoln and Boone Counties had multiple owners, but a single company has purchased all the property, Lusk said. He did not know the new owner’s name yet due to the sales being private transactions.

“We’ll immediately go to work with the new owners to see if we can reopen the systems,” he said. “This only impacts our Ivy Branch system and Little Coal River system. There is still over 500 miles of trails.”

Mercer County’s branch of the Hatfield-McCoy, the Pocahontas Trail, continues to see growth, Lusk said. Lusk visited the new Buffalo Trails welcome center in Bluewell and other local businesses serving ATV tourists.

“Permit sales are up double digits in Mercer County. I was actually down there Thursday (Oct. 8) and stopped at Buffalo Trails and Ashland Trails. All their cabins were booked up this weekend.”

More accommodations are necessary to help the area’s ATV sector grow.

“We’re growing up there, but we need more beds,” Lusk said. “Our system is growing in Mercer County, and we need more lodging in the Bramwell and Bluewell area. With those systems (Lincoln and Boone) going off-line, it’s going to push more traffic on our existing system.”