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Old 03-17-2012, 11:50 PM
 
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The "Sheepskin Trail" is under construction in Fayette County which, when completed, will connect to Monongalia County's Mon River Trail and further connect that trail with the Cheat Lake Trail on the south and to the north will connect with the Great Allegheny Passage Trail, which runs from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC via beautiful Ohiopyle State Park and Cumberland, MD through great historic and scenic venues. That trail further accesses the Maryland trail system which will connect Morgantown to several hundred miles of beautiful, well maintained hiking/biking trails.

At Ohiopyle State Park, access is available directly to an outstanding whitewater venue. These developments will add to already wonderful outdoor opportunities in the Morgantown area. When this system is completed, one will be able to go from Fairmont all the way to Pittsburgh and to Washington, DC on maintained hiking/biking trails.

http://www.co.fayette.pa.us/Parksand...skin_trail.pdf

Great Allegheny Passage - The official website for the rail-trail system between Pittsburgh, PA and Cumberland, MD


Abandoned Railroad Line Bike Trail Dunbar PA Sheepskin Trail West Penn Railways - YouTube

Last edited by CTMountaineer; 03-18-2012 at 12:11 AM..
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:18 AM
 
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One of my favorite aspects of Morgantown and the surrounding area is the excellent trails on which one can bike. My favorite is going up to Masontown and through Preston County on the Decker's Creek trail, but I recently had a wonderful ride next to the river on the Mon Trail down to Fairmont. It always annoyed me how the trail ends without warning right before Point Marion, PA. Now, with this project, hundreds of miles of trails will finally be linked, including the one at Cheat Lake Park. I can't wait to ride up to Uniontown when this finally gets done!
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Old 03-18-2012, 06:47 PM
 
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You'll eventually be able to ride all the way to Pittsburgh or DC as well as connecting to the Maryland trail system. It is an outstanding network of trails through the Laurel Highlands and Alleghenies passing many places of beauty and historic significance.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Clendenin, WV
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It would be interesting to see an entire WV network of trails, that would connect Morgantown to Lewisburg, to Charleston/Huntington, to Wheeling, and then to other states. This is a good project, as I've always supported trail projects. A couple of years back, I helped out with the Elk River Trail project, which eventually died from legal garbage.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:33 PM
 
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Chris, is that the project that included the use of the old railroad trusses over the rivers? Is there any push to resurrect it?
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:07 PM
 
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As elewis mentioned, our system in NCWV is pretty well developed and includes well developed hiking/biking trails (paved in the more urban areas) as well as primitive trails through forest and woodlands such as Coopers Rock forest that are suitable for hiking and dirt biking (but not conventional bikes).

If I were a young man, I would really take advantage of the outstanding ourdoor venues we have in this area. As a senior guy, my ability to do so is more limited but I do manage to walk on the local trails a couple times per week.

I do not know what it would take to extend the trail system from Clarksburg for 133 miles to Charleston? I would imagine there are rail beds that could be utilized, but the main problem would be in getting local sponsors for the route along the way. The trail system here, as well as the ones in PA, MD, and to DC are really a collection of much smaller trails linked together with each of those trails having a sponsoring group that builds and maintains it. In Mon County we have two of those... the Morgantown park system maintains the trails inside city limits (these are all paved) and the Mon Trails Conservancy maintains those outside city limits up Deckers Creek and into Preston County, south along the Mon River to Prickets Fort, and north to the PA state line.

Marion, Harrison, and Fayette (PA) counties all have their own trail organizations.

I don't know about any trail systems south of Clarksburg, but if none exist there would have to be a lot of organizing done to get things moving toward Charleston. Going from PA to Wheeling's well developed trail system would be problematic too since most of the rail bed from the old railway has been sold off to private interests from the Triadelphia town line and into Washington County, PA. The only way to get to that now would be from the north via Brooke County, or the south via Marshall County which would again require a lot of organization from Benwood to Parkersburg and so forth. NCWV and Wheeling have well organized and maintained trails. I am not aware of such developments in the middle portions of the state.
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:29 AM
 
Location: Clendenin, WV
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I could see a Elk River Trail stopping in Sutton, and then a new trail that ran through our lake region (Stonewall/Burnsville) that would also run on old tracks. This would then tie into Weston and follow the river that would lead right through parkersburg, and then into the Mon River Trail system. Granted this will never happen, but imagine that trail and what an impact it would have on the towns between Charleston and Clarksburg. You'd pass by 3 lakes, several state parks, a four seasons resort, several historic towns, and the beautiful Elk River would be featured.

Then a train that runs south along the Kanawha River could go all the way to Hinton, and then find its way east to connect with the Greenbrier River Trail.

Just some thoughts that will most likely never happen, but would be great ideas for trails.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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There would have to be grass roots interest generated among the folks who live in those areas to make it happen, organizing committees set up, and organizations formed. You'd also need financial sponsors to pay for the needed work. It could happen as far as the trails go, but it doesn't just happen without a tremendous amount of work.

I sure wouldn't pretend to speak to the interests of the people who live in those areas, buy my own (possibly incorrect) impression is the rural people south of Sutton would be more inclined to support the kinds of rudimentary trails suitable for atv use (like the Hatfield - McCoy Trail) than they would a hiking/biking trail system.
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:43 AM
 
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Here's a map of the existing rail trails in West Virginia. There are sure to be more, but the official Rails-to-Trails ones are here:


And here are my additions, in a perfect world:
Fayette County, PA Building Hiking Biking Trail to Connect to Mon River Trail-trail-map.jpg

The blue-gray trail is the Great Allegheny Passage that connects to the B&O Canal Towpath around Berkeley County. The two trails connect Pittsburgh to DC.

The green trails are the highest priority trails (and I know, there are plenty). Starting from the top - A Wheeling to Pittsburgh trail (Steel Valley Corridor) is a no-brainer, if there isn't an existing one already. From there, I would connect Moundsville to Fairmont along the defunct I-68 extension proposal, as well as connect Morgantown to the GAP utilizing the trail in the OP. From Moundsville, there should be a trail extending all the way to Huntington along the Ohio River (Ohio River Byway). If we can't get a 4-lane highway, we might as well go for a trail at least! Another no-brainer is to connect Huntington and Charleston (Metro Valley Connector). This trail would be the most heavily used by far as it would create a commuter trail as well as a recreational one. From Charleston, the trail would extend to Sutton Lake adjacent to the Elk River (Elk River Byway) and then would split - north to Clarksburg along I-79 and south to Summersville (Mountaineer Trail). The Summersville trail would connect to Beckley (New River Trail) with a spur going to downtown Fayetteville. From Clarksburg, it would go to Elkins and then head south to connect the existing trails back to Summersville to create one of the best recreational bike loops in the country. Finally, and maybe most importantly in terms of tourism, a new path (Potomac Highlands Trail) would follow Corridor H to Strasburg/Winchester VA and then up through Martinsburg to the B&O trail.

The orange trails would be the next-in-line trails and are mostly connectors to the major routes. The Decker's Creek Trail would connect to the Potomac Highlands Trail though Preston County, as would a trail from the GAP to PHT through Mineral County. With the new US 35, a path could easily be built between the Metro Valley Connector to Point Pleasant. The "Turnpike Trail" between Charleston and Beckley would be a higher priority, but topography issues would most likely drive costs up. But it is sorely needed as it would connect the capital to Beckley and then to the New River area. There would also be a link between Beckley and Lewisburg, as well as Beckley and Bluefield and Lewisburg and Princeton.

The red trails would be beautiful, but most likely sparsely used. The King Coal Trail would be a scenic route from Huntington to Beckley, with a Corridor G connection to Charleston. The Little Kanawha Trail would travel along its namesake river and connect Parkersburg to the I-79 trail.
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Old 03-19-2012, 11:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elewis7 View Post
Here's a map of the existing rail trails in West Virginia. There are sure to be more, but the official Rails-to-Trails ones are here:


And here are my additions, in a perfect world:
Attachment 92646

The blue-gray trail is the Great Allegheny Passage that connects to the B&O Canal Towpath around Berkeley County. The two trails connect Pittsburgh to DC.

The green trails are the highest priority trails (and I know, there are plenty). Starting from the top - A Wheeling to Pittsburgh trail (Steel Valley Corridor) is a no-brainer, if there isn't an existing one already. From there, I would connect Moundsville to Fairmont along the defunct I-68 extension proposal, as well as connect Morgantown to the GAP utilizing the trail in the OP. From Moundsville, there should be a trail extending all the way to Huntington along the Ohio River (Ohio River Byway). If we can't get a 4-lane highway, we might as well go for a trail at least! Another no-brainer is to connect Huntington and Charleston (Metro Valley Connector). This trail would be the most heavily used by far as it would create a commuter trail as well as a recreational one. From Charleston, the trail would extend to Sutton Lake adjacent to the Elk River (Elk River Byway) and then would split - north to Clarksburg along I-79 and south to Summersville (Mountaineer Trail). The Summersville trail would connect to Beckley (New River Trail) with a spur going to downtown Fayetteville. From Clarksburg, it would go to Elkins and then head south to connect the existing trails back to Summersville to create one of the best recreational bike loops in the country. Finally, and maybe most importantly in terms of tourism, a new path (Potomac Highlands Trail) would follow Corridor H to Strasburg/Winchester VA and then up through Martinsburg to the B&O trail.

The orange trails would be the next-in-line trails and are mostly connectors to the major routes. The Decker's Creek Trail would connect to the Potomac Highlands Trail though Preston County, as would a trail from the GAP to PHT through Mineral County. With the new US 35, a path could easily be built between the Metro Valley Connector to Point Pleasant. The "Turnpike Trail" between Charleston and Beckley would be a higher priority, but topography issues would most likely drive costs up. But it is sorely needed as it would connect the capital to Beckley and then to the New River area. There would also be a link between Beckley and Lewisburg, as well as Beckley and Bluefield and Lewisburg and Princeton.

The red trails would be beautiful, but most likely sparsely used. The King Coal Trail would be a scenic route from Huntington to Beckley, with a Corridor G connection to Charleston. The Little Kanawha Trail would travel along its namesake river and connect Parkersburg to the I-79 trail.
I hadn't realized we already had a connection to Parkersburg. That's great. It would be nice to tie into the trail at Elkins too since that would afford access to the nearby High Alleghenys. Wheeling has an excellent municipal trail system that covers 13 miles, but it would be very difficult to tie it to a Steel Valley corridor by way of Washington since most of that right of way is now in the hands of many private owners. Going north to Weirton then to Pittsburgh would be more feasible.

I68 to Moundsville along with the trail is a no brainer, but the connection needs to be in Morgantown which already has a trail connection to Fairmont. The road idea is not defunct, but on the back burner due to politics. That will likely change in time since the region is getting the demographics to make it possible. That road would cut 30 miles off a trip from Wheeling to Morgantown or Charleston.

An Ohio River trail from Moundsville to Huntington would also be desirable, but you'd have to figure out a way to skirt the industrial areas along the river between Moundsville and New Martinsville. Marcellus developments will make the Morgantown to Moundsville and Moundsville to Huntington expressways essential and vital to the state's overall prosperity. Having trails along them would represent wise planning and forward thinking which is why I don't believe they will happen. We have absolute morons running our state government. What you're leaving out though, is the fact that every one of these areas would have to have an interested and responsible group for the trails in those areas. It remains to be seen whether there would be such groups in the more rural southern regions, which often have a somewhat different take on things.
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