WAVERLY - A new ATV Trail Park at Mountwood Park will be opening this spring.
The park will be on the north side of U.S. 50 where the campground is now. There are approximately 600 acres of undeveloped park land on that side of the road that is undeveloped.
In March, the Wood County Commission asked John Reed, Wood County compliance officer, to form an exploratory committee to study the feasibility of developing an off-highway trail system in the park to create additional revenue for Mountwood Park in addition to providing an area in the community for the ever-expanding recreational use of all-terrain vehicles. The commissioners asked Reed to create a plan to get the ATV park open without the use of tax dollars.
From left are Eric Barrett, Paul Lemon, Rod Barrett, Tim Graham, Rian Rooney and Bob Buchanan who were involved with development of a new ATV park at Mountwood Park.
Reed went to Paul Lemon and Rod Barrett of Lemon and Barrett's Powersports on Broadway Avenue and Mineral Wells. A donation of $19,500 was obtained from Yamaha to be used as seed money for development of trails, trail markers, parking areas and mapping.
"This is the first donation Yamaha has made in the state of West Virginia. We are excited about this park. Yamaha feels more of these local parks, like this design, are needed throughout the country. There are major trail systems such as The Hatfield and McCoys and Burning Rock, in southern West Virginia, but trail systems that are conveniently located to the citizens like this one at Mountwood Park in Wood County is truly the idea of the future," said Rian Rooney, Yamaha district manager.
Tim Graham of Tim Graham Excavating donated the equipment and labor to create the original trails. Graham said he believes development of the trails will take two or three months, contingent on weather, with an additional week of work to develop the trail head where parking and off loading will be developed.
"We will be able to originally provide approximately 25 miles of trails in three different grades, from easy to moderate to difficult. All the trails will be marked as to their degree of difficulty and mapping of the trails will be provided," Graham said.
Trails will be available for ATV use, in addition to Side by Sides and Dirt Bikes.
The Wood County Parks and Recreation Commission, Mountwood Park governing board approved the plans in October, pending a public hearing. The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Fort Boreman room of the Judge Black Courthouse Annex, 321 Market St.
The board also asked Reed to form a nonprofit entity to oversee operation of the ATV trails. To that end, Mountwood ATV Adventures was formed and licensed by the state and will be operated as a strictly volunteer organization, with the responsibility of trail maintenance, improved development, park regulation as well as the distribution of permit applications.
Permits will be sold by any local merchant wishing to participate, with 100 percent of the original proceeds going to Mountwood Park for overall park operations. In return, Mountwood Park will budget a set amount back to Mountwood ATV Adventures annually for trail maintenance and additional improvements.
Reed said the board will establish the rates and the amounts of reinvestment into the trails at a future meeting. In addition, Mountwood ATV Adventures will conduct special events throughout the year, with proceeds going exclusively to the trail system. There will also be ATV safety classes conducted periodically at the trail system.
Reed said there has been a growing need for a regulated area for ATV enthusiasts. Sheriff department calls indicate abuse from riders throughout different areas of the county as there is no area for riders provided.
The final step in getting the park open is to secure a land use agreement from Dominion Transmission, which owns 933 acres adjacent to the park area along Sand Hill Road. Bob Buchanan, president of the board, said this area is crucial to the success of the project.
"We are working with Robert Orndorff, the managing director of West Virginia local affairs, on use of a just a small portion of that acreage for the trail head, along with use of an already existing trail leading to our park. We have always had a good working relationship with Dominion and would anticipate that they will be more than cooperative with our efforts to provide this trail system to our community," Buchanan said.