I cannot tell you how many times, over the past decades, I have heard parents complain about sons and daughters, young high school graduates having to leave home and leave the state to find jobs. There are many reasons that industry is difficult to bring to our region. Most times, it has to do with access to highways, airports and other conveniences. But untapped industry has its advantages. Pocahontas County remains the most beautiful part of a beautiful state. We are gradually becoming a leading recreation destination location. 

Last week, I informed readers about the emerging recreational economy and what the construction of the Monday Lick and Halfway Run trails could do for our local economy. Growth comes at a price. Parking in downtown Marlinton is considered more than adequate to meet current needs. However, future-parking needs may look very different as visitors discover Marlinton as a mountain bike destination. 

For instance, what would happen if the Monday Lick trails resulted in 30, 50 or even 100 percent more visitors parking downtown? What if that became the case every weekend? How would business owners feel if their customers were not able to find parking close to their businesses? Now is the time to be planning for future activity. 

As we approach 2023, creating a signature trailhead in downtown Marlinton must be thought out with signage and amenities – such as parking. Marlinton leaders must identify a specific location as the official trailhead location with designated parking. Restrooms, trash pickup, and the most basic needs will have to be a part of this planning. Hopefully, we can include professionals to identify the best location and then work with regional partners to get parking studies and trailhead designs completed for downtown and adjacent areas. 

Until next time…