CHARLESTON — Two projects that would expand the reach of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails system in southern West Virginia have received a boost through Abandoned Mine Land grant funding.
Gov. Jim Justice and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) Secretary Austin Caperton announced last week the recommendation of 12 projects that will use $27,196,483 in federal grant funding for economic development of abandoned mine land sites across the state.
“This is a lot of money, and it could really and truly go a long way,” Justice said. “Hopefully it’ll do a lot of great things in the areas where the work will be happening — we have a lot of great things happening in West Virginia.”
Of that money, the Indian Creek ATV Resort Project in Boone County received $3,378,000, while the Twin Hollow Campgrounds and Cabins Expansion Project in Mingo County received $2,699,422.
Indian Creek would serve as an anchor development for the newest Hatfield-McCoy Trails system in Boone County. The project includes the construction of 20 cabins and 15 RV sites, and will be the location of the new Coal River Trail System.
The funds would be used in Mingo County to expand the Twin Hollow Campgrounds and Cabins Resort to an even larger, more prominent destination that will bring in thousands of Hatfield-McCoy Trails riders annually and facilitate a private sector investment of $3,970,230 over the next five years, according to the release.
The grants, provided through the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), are administered by the WVDEP’s Office of Abandoned Mine Lands. The recipients applied for the grant funding earlier this year and were each considered by a committee of representatives from the WVDEP, West Virginia Department of Commerce, West Virginia Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Office.
The economic development projects must be located on or adjacent to mine sites that ceased operations prior to the signing of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) on Aug. 3, 1977.
OSMRE must give final approval of the projects and amounts awarded.
“These kinds of economic development projects are right in Governor Justice’s wheelhouse, and he’s absolutely been a superstar to the entire state for helping us make these valuable projects a reality in West Virginia,” Caperton said. “We’ve received $105 million over the past four years, all going into economic development activities, and we’ve already received notice that we’re going to get another $25 million in funding for the next year.”
Additionally, Rustic Ravines in Wayne County was awarded $250,000 for a lodge and wedding/conference venue, cabins, cottages, pods, RV and ATV parks, tennis amenities, basketball amenities, walking/hiking trails, ATV trails, an Alpine Coaster, a disc golf course, a miniature golf course and an indoor driving range to increase tourism.
Other recommended projects that received funding included three waterline and sewer projects in Raleigh County (totaling $11,091,448), one in Wyoming County ($4.5 million), a Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation project in Fayette County ($1.5 million), a Wildlife Education Center in Kanawha County, a Cheat River project in Preston County ($1 million), Blackwater River project in Tucker County ($818,000) and $1 million for a Renaissance Village in McDowell County.