Country roads stay open, community fights to remove gates

COAL CITY, WV (WOAY) – One of West Virginia’s most notable traits is the country roads, however people are now fighting to keep them open.

Some people have started putting up gates and cables trying to label them as private property, but protesters have come together to preserve the roads that paved the way for the future.

Bill Ellison is one of the protesters fighting to keep these roads open. “They’re state roads. We have maps… You know, we’ve lived around here all our life. They’ve travelled, we’ve travelled back and forth on these trails for years. We knew they were open highways; open land.”

All of the back-travelled dirt roads are in fact state property. Protesters fought and had thousands of signatures until the gates were no more.

Protester Lucy Lester says, “We’ve fought for freedom before, but we’ve never had to fight to keep our freedom and keep what we have. It’s a very proud day. The governor stepped in after all the phone calls; he stepped up to the plate and he sent people back down here to make sure these roads stayed open for West Virginia. I’m proud of West Virginia today.”

The Department of Highways and the governor came in yet again to legally claim the country roads of West Virginia.

They say that their next steps going forward are getting tougher laws in order to properly punish those who illegally block these state roads.

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