ARC awards $1.5 million for Monday Lick Trail construction

I had the opportunity to attend The Advancing Community Trails (ACT) workshop last Thursday and Friday, with at least seven county residents and approximately 50 others from the Mon-Forest Towns Partnership and beyond. The two-day workshop was led by WVU staff and trail development experts, with support of the Brad & Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative. The Smith OEDC workshop could not have happened at a better time. 

Did you know economic impact studies document the many and substantial economic benefits generated by trails, including health and wellness. Did you know Outdoor Recreation generates more dollars overall than the oil and gas industry? Did you know Outdoor Recreation is larger than big pharma? Neither did I, but there is more! 
Did you know we live in A Region of Great Opportunity? Yes – West Virginia, Pocahontas County and Marlinton are within a region of great opportunity. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties within the Appalachian Region. The ARC mission is to strengthen economic growth within the region. 

Through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Pocahontas County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Poca Trails and the Mon Forest Towns Partnership, Region 4 PDC submitted a POWER application to construct 27 miles of single-track optimized trail at Monday Lick. The plan for mountain biking and other ride center improvements will boost the area’s tourism industry and help the Snowshoe Highland ride center attain the IMBA gold-status. The new level certification will make Snowshoe the only gold ride-center in the east, and one of the top seven mountain bike destinations in the world.

On Monday, the ARC agreed to Award $1,500,000 to the Region 4 Planning and Development Council for construction of the Monday Lick Trail. Additional funding is provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

This is exciting news for Marlinton, for Pocahontas County and the Mon-Forest Region. As I recently shared with the MFT Board, rising tides raise all ships. All traffic coming to Snowshoe will pass through the other 11 towns. Hence, with the recent Notice to Proceed on the Overlook Trail and this good news, the rush to upgrade the Trailhead at Ninth Street takes on new importance. 

Award Title: Region 4 Planning & Development Council: Turning Coal to Gold: Boosting the Outdoor Economy through the Snowshoe Highlands Ride Center – $1,500,000