West Virginia Counties Plan Network of New Trails

An almost forgotten railroad could become a big part of a new trail for hikers, bicycle enthusiasts, and horseback riders that are interested in exploring the mountains and forests of Mercer and Summers counties in West Virginia.

Mercer County and neighboring Summers County are working on plans to develop hiking trails and water trails. The hope is that an old railroad right of way going through part of Mercer County will form a connection with trails in Summers County and beyond. This former railroad line was mostly forgotten until its existence became part of negotiations in the 1990s.

“That railroad line and the right of way for it connects Mercer County and Summers County at Pipestem State Park,” the Mercer county commissioner said. “It also extends out to Camp Creek State Park; it’s a network. So we’re working together with Camp Creek State Park, Pipestem State Park and Summers County to develop a larger network of hiking, mountain bicycle trails and equestrian trails on this way.”

Summers County is working to develop its trails, too. Their County Commissioner said he was looking at the Great Eastern Trail, which parallels the Appalachian Trail in Giles County, Va. The Great Eastern Trail and the Mary Draper Ingles Trail run to Bluestone Lake together. The Mary Ingles Trail then goes down the New River while the Great Eastern Trail turns up the Bluestone River Gorge.

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