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Hatfield McCoy Trails

Hatfield-McCoy Trails having a “banner year”

LYBURN, WV - Despite being hit with damaging floods the first weekend in May, the Hatfield-McCoy Trails system is “having a banner year” with permit sales up 7 percent over last year, Executive Director Jeffrey T. Lusk said Friday.

Through June 30, permit sales totaled $610,151 compared to $570,362 last year, Lusk reported to the quarterly meeting of the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreational Authority, which oversees the trail system.

The increase comes despite several trails being damaged in the flooding, and the continuing limited availability of accommodations as lodging was taken over by disaster responders.

Authority Chairman Ark Kirkendoll noted that the Trail System is one of the few tourism-related businesses in the country that is experiencing growth during the current economic environment. “We’ve just got a great product,” he said.

In addition to the increase in permit sales, Lusk reported that retail sales are also up 39 percent and are on track to provide $100,000 in net income by year’s end. Through the first half of 2008, merchandise sales totaled $75,502 compared to $105,598 through June 30.

Also during the first half of the year, there were only six accidents on the Trails, all of which were driver error, head Ranger Sgt. John Hall Jr reported. Of the 37 citations during the time, 18 were for riding without a permit with 18 for safety-related violations.

“We are the safest place to ride in the country,” Deputy Executive Director John Fekete added.

The Hatfield-McCoy Trial System was created by the West Virginia Legislature to generate economic development through tourism in nine southern West Virginia counties. It currently operates six systems with more than 500 miles of trails. Each system is open 365 days a year to ATVs, dirt bikes, select utility vehicles (UTVs), mountain bikes, horses, and hikers. Many of the trail systems also offer community connecting trails that allow visitors to access “ATV-friendly towns” to experience the charm of southern West Virginia.

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