MADISON, W.Va. — Progress has been made in re-opening the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System in Boone County. Chip Shaffer, the Madison City Attorney, has recently acquired approval to pursue expanding the trail system into a new expanse of land.
“Things are starting to happen. We finally have a property owner that signed an agreement that I’ve been trying to get signed for 10 years,” Shaffer said, “They own 100 percent of Indian Creek and most of the north side of Big Coal River from Racine almost to Slyvester, up to the top of the Boone County-Kanawha County line, and going into Kanawha County.”
Shaffer said this property owner is a conglomeration of families and this made it a challenge to obtain the agreement. He said the current plan is to have trail heads at Chesapeake, Racine, Whitesville and Madison. Shaffer said there is already over 150 miles of trail mapped in Boone County and he believes this new system will be impressive.
“It’s not unreasonable to think that in another 10 years or so it will be the greatest trail system in the world,” Shaffer said.
Shaffer attributes the recent progress on the project to the pressure put on the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System by the recent closures of the trails in Boone and Lincoln Counties. Madison City Council Member, Carolyn Mullins said she agrees the tourism provided by these trails are vital to the area.
“It’s very, very important, we know that they will bring revitalization and more economic development to the town,” Mullins said, “We’re all on board with that and want to help out in any way we can to make sure that it comes to fruition.”
Mullins said the city is currently working with the Madison Civic Center to obtain a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to create a recreation area at the upcoming trail head on the property currently occupied by the old Madison Pool. She said that they cannot work on the project until they receive confirmation that the trails are coming into the area.
Shaffer briefly mentioned the old Hatfield-McCoy trail system in Boone County and said that they will likely never get that property back because that company will not talk to them.
“The problem is these folks let us use this on a handshake deal and if the owners get the idea that this will subject them to political pressure or get their name in the paper for not allowing this to happen, then this really starts to fall apart,” Shaffer said, “They have to be able to freely get into the system and get out.”