The third Annual Greenbrier River Trail Marathon was held the first Sunday in October. Following the marathon, the organizers conducted a survey to evaluate the impact of the race on our local economy. Based on survey results, the one-day GRTM was estimated to have a $60-100K impact.

This positive economic impact will continue to expand with each future event. I share this information with you to demonstrate, not only the value of these events, but also how events can complement other tourism assets.

A portion of the funds generated by the race go to the Greenbrier River Trail Association for trail improvements. (If you recall, volunteers painted signs along the trail last year.) These improvements to the GRT now contribute to an estimated 100,000 visitors annually. For those interested in sponsoring the 2022 GRTM event, it is scheduled for Sunday October 2.

So, why the Marlinton Overlook Trail?

Answer: Two reasons. The Overlook Trail will add another dimension to those bikers who come to ride locally. But, more importantly, it will add value to the steps being taken to bring the Snowshoe Highlands Ride Center, to an IMBA Gold status. The elevated status will create the only GOLD ride center, in the east. IMBA representative Steve Kasacek says GOLD status can have a huge benefit to Snowshoe Resort and the county at large.

I fully understand that more highway traffic is a double-edge sword. But more traffic adds to our local economy. A growing local economy grows local businesses and gives our youth opportunities to stay in the county when they finish school.