LOGAN — Congressman Evan Jenkins hosted a well-attended community roundtable at Gatti’s Pizza August 15 which focused on opportunities for the future of the area’s economy.
The meeting room at the restaurant was crowded with commissioners, mayors, government representatives, businesses owners and members of non-profit organizations from throughout southern West Virginia.
The congressman was accompanied by Colonel Philip Secrist, of the Huntington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and West Virginia Commissioner of Tourism Amy Shuler Goodwin.
Each member of the trio took time to explain and discuss their roles, current projects and goals.
Attendees engaged in thorough and thoughtful conversation with Secrist, Jenkins and Goodwin.
Before the meeting Jenkins was given a tour of the area’s Hatfield and McCoy Trail System.
The congressman explained he called the meeting to discuss separate facets of the tourism with a wide range of community leaders.
“We’ve got to turn West Virginia around, and some exciting things are happening. God has given us this incredible scenic beauty. To be able to ride the hills and trails in West Virginia made it a great day. We…know that tourism has a rich history. We’ve got stuff that’s second to none. This is important. It’s about lodging, it’s about all the aspects of the Hatfield and McCoy Trail System and all of its ancillary activities, t’s about the gorges, rafting and zip lining,” noted Jenkins.
Questions for Colonel Secrist focused on the area’s burgeoning kayak industry.
Secrist explained some areas of the state have special agreements with the Corps of Engineers which allow for raised water levels during peak tourism months, and many in room agreed such an agreement could allow for increased use of the Guyandotte.
During Goodwin’s remarks, she explained the state has been working to increase the return on its investment into tourism campaigns.
Goodwin noted the top travel motivators for most vacationers are having plenty of things to do in an area which also offers people an opportunity to engage in authentic, memorable experiences.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]