WILLIAMSON — The Bloody Mingo Tug Fork Water Trail, which travels the entire length of Mingo County’s western border, has been designated as an official West Virginia Water Trail by the West Virginia Recreational Trails Advisory Board and the West Virginia Department of Transportation.
The National Coal Heritage Area Authority, Friends of Tug Fork and the Bloody Mingo Water Trail Committee announced the news Monday in a release.
Flatwater trails in West Virginia are located on calm (Class 1) rivers, streams and lakes. In West Virginia, flatwater trails are identified and assisted by the state’s Flatwater Trail Commission, Division of Highways and Division of Natural Resources.
Water trails are developed to provide visiting paddlers and local enthusiasts a safe and enjoyable opportunity to enjoy West Virginia’s hundreds of miles of navigable waterways.
The Bloody Mingo Tug Fork Water Trail has the potential to serve as a major destination for fishing, flatwater boating and associated outdoor-oriented activities, according to the release.
The Tug Fork River offers a variety of experiences including fishing, paddling, wildlife watching and historic and cultural experiences along the 60-Mile “Bloody Mingo” section of the river.
The Bloody Mingo Tug Fork River Water Trail begins at Ben Creek (mile 40 of the overall Tug Fork River), which is an already popular access point to the river. Traveling downstream, there are 26 access points in both West Virginia and Kentucky with the end of the Bloody Mingo Tug Fork River Water Trail located at Warfield, Kentucky, at mile 100.
Next steps call for exploring funding for new access points, river clean up events, development of directional and interpretive signage and a branding and marketing campaign including brochures and a dedicated website.
The group also plans to work with partners in McDowell and Wayne counties to prepare a future application for water trail designation for the Tug Fork in those areas.