Fayette County eyeing county park as the next spot for single-track trail development

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – The Fayette County Commission and the trail community have been working to figure out what the next step is for trail development. 

After Friday’s workshop, it seems that the Fayette County Park will be the next step in creating a county-wide trail system.

Fayette County resident Gene Kistler was in attendance and says the county park is prime property because not only does it have ideal terrain but it is also already county property, so it is more cost effective.

“I think we want to go county park first,” Kistler said. “It’s begging to happen. There’s all this infrastructure. There’s all this other stuff. I think it would generate revenue for the county.” 

Everyone at the meeting was in agreement on that, and many expressed that more single-track trails could attract those in the bike community to stay longer in the area to ride but also could attract people to pick up and move here. 

Locals in the community who have been a major part of the success at the Wolf Creek Trails in Fayetteville have already started fundraising for this next phase and will continue sourcing local money from donors and working alongside WVU’s Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative to help with costs as they believe the county will only have to put a small investment in. 

This will all be part of a larger plan to put trails throughout the county as Commissioner Tom Louisos says he wants to connect municipalities to the county park through various types of trails. 

“This should be the heart of the trail development,” Louisos said. “I think it should start here, and I would like to have a piece of property that would have a large trail development on it across the river around Gauley Bridge and where the New River meets. I think that’s an untapped asset, recreational asset that needs to be looked at.” 

But for now, the focus is on county or municipality-owned property like the county park and from there, they also want to be looking at funding sources for Needleseye in Oak Hill, a second phase of Wolf Creek and trail development in towns. 

“Someone recently said in an article that trails are the ball fields of the 21st century,” Kistler said. “In other words, in the 20th century, it was all about ball parks. Now public lands, city parks, county parks, people are doing other things and trails are the top of the list.”

There will be a commission meeting on September 18 where there will be a motion on the agenda to move ahead with the county park project.

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.