Tourism and Recreation

Out-of-State Visitors the Prime Users of Hatfield McCoy Trail

Photo by Hatfield McCoy Trails

Photo by Hatfield McCoy Trails

The number of out-of-state visitors riding the Hatfield-McCoy ATV trails has grown steadily over the past decade.

In 2015, 38,979 trail uses passes were sold for the Hatfield-McCoy ATV trail network in southern West Virginia, an increase of 7.4 percent on the previous year.

The vast majority of Hatfield-McCoy trail users are from outside West Virginia – in 2015, 81 percent of trail permits were purchased by visitors from out-of-state, an increase on 2014 when out-of-state visitors accounted for 78 percent of permit sales.

Since the current permit pricing of $26.50 for West Virginia residents and $50 for out-of-state residents was instituted in 2007, permit sales have increased by 47.8 percent.

During this period, the number of trail permits sold has increased an average of 6 percent each year, including a 12.7 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.

The trail system is managed by the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, a public corporation established by the West Virginia Legislature in 1996 to build, maintain and market ATV trails in nine southern West Virginia counties.

The Authority currently manages 600 miles of trails in five counties. Revenue from permit sales, which in 2015 topped $1.45 million, is used to build, maintain and provide law enforcement on the trail system, which is the second largest ATV system in the United States, behind the Paiute ATV Trail in Utah.

More than 70 percent of the trail permits are sold by individual vendors, who retain about $4 for each in-state permit sold, and $8 for each out-of-state permit sold.

Economic Impact of Trail Tourism

Studies estimate that the economic impact of the Hatfield-McCoy trail system has grown by 74 percent since 2006.

A 2014 study by Marshall University’s Center for Business and Economic Research found that non-local trail users spent $12,582,980 that year in the seven counties connected by the trail system: Boone, Lincoln, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo and Wyoming.

The report estimated that, since an economic study in 2006, the total economic impact of the Hatfield-McCoy trail system has grown by 74 percent, spurred by increases in the mileage of trails as well as the creation of new businesses serving trail users.

The number of regional businesses in the accommodation industry increased by about 45 percent between 2000 and 2011.

However, despite the significant economic impact the trail system has already had on the region, the trail’s managers believe there are more opportunities for locals to expand trail-related business opportunities, such as lodging, food and other services to visiting trail users.

To address that opportunity, the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority recently applied for, and was awarded, $1.3 million through the federal government’s POWER initiative to increase local entrepreneurship, including business coaching and marketing services.

POWER also awarded the Natural Capital Investment Fund $1.25 million as seed capital for a revolving loan fund to support tourism-related small businesses in Hatfield-McCoy Trail communities.

Who To Talk To:

Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority

Email: Executive Director Jeff Lusk

Related Content:

New Counts Study Bike/Ped Traffic on Morgantown Trails

 

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