- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

BRAMWELL, W.Va. (AP) - All-terrain vehicle trail systems are bringing new life to two coalfield towns in Southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia.

Bramwell Mayor Louise Stoker said her town’s economy has improved since a section of West Virginia’s Hatfield-McCoy Trail System opened in Mercer County in 2012. The trail has drawn visitors to Bramwell from every state except Hawaii.

“We had visitors here from Alaska last year, and they came back again to ride the trails here again this year,” Stoker told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph (https://bit.ly/1wuMHr2) . “What ATVs have done for this community has all been positive.”

Trail riders are making a positive connection to the area and have started particpating in community activities, including concerts, plays and festivals, she said.

“They love it,” Stoker said. “They want to know when the next event is going to take place. Some trail riders even coordinate their visits when they know we have something going on.”

“We’re glad they’re here,” she said.

In Virginia, the Original Pocahontas Trail is drawing to Pocahontas. The trail, which opened earlier this month, is part of Virginia’s Spearhead Trail System.

Pocahontas Mayor Benjamin Gibson said the trail’s opening is “a brand new day for Pocahontas … A brand new opportunity.”

Coal mines in the region have closed but their history remains. Pocahontas officials want to share this history with trail riders, Gibson said.

“We want visitors to see our community. We want ATV riders to tell others what they saw here,” he said.

Gibson said Pocahontas and Bramwell are similar, and he believes the towns can do cross promotions in the future.

“Anything that is good for Bramwell is good for Pocahontas too,” he said.

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Information from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, https://www.bdtonline.com


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