Last week, I shared some programs and activities that are go-ing on in our area, all of which are aimed at building upon a recreation economy, which is evolving in Pocahontas County and the region. This week, the following provides more insight into how we got here and why continuing to support these efforts will benefit the region.

The Snowshoe Highlands Ride Center (SHRC) first applied for Ride Center designation in late 2018. In spring 2019, IMBA provided the site visit to evaluate trails for basic criteria. Following the visit, IMBA awarded SHRC a Bronze level designation. In 2020, SHRC returned trail improvements to IMBA, with supporting data. After review, IMBA upgraded the Snowshoe Highlands Ride Center designation to the Silver level. It is currently only the second silver on the east coast.

Now, the primary goal is to achieve Gold level status. With Gold level status, the Snowshoe-Highlands would set itself apart from all other Ride Centers in the eastern United States. Because there are currently no Gold level Ride Centers in the east.

From page 3-22 of The Town of Marlinton’s Comprehensive Plan, a major concern that was discussed throughout the comprehensive plan process is that the community wants to encourage new business development as well as support existing businesses in town. Small business growth and development is vital to the wellbeing of the community and the town should be seen as a willing partner in this growth and development.

As part of this partnership, the town should do its part to promote the community along with the CVB, Chamber of Commerce, the Greenbrier Valley Economic De- velopment Corporation and other organizations. The Town of Marlinton should continue to develop the town’s website and social media page to promote the happenings and events in town. Showcasing the town and its amenities will help commerce in Marlinton by bringing more people into the community.

For those that agree trails are good, but what about industry? Please be advised, the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Association (GVEDC) continues to show the Edray Industrial Park Building (as recently as two weeks ago) as well as sites at the former Howes Leather property in Frank.