Over the past year plus with our work helping to foster entrepreneurship in communities throughout West Virginia here at The Hub, we’ve seen energy around new business in the recreation and tourism sectors skyrocket.
This has been due in large part to the Hatfield McCoy ATV trail. As people come to ride the trail, they are also looking for other recreational activities. So, communities with natural assets like waterways are creating these recreational opportunities for visitors in places like Lincoln County. We have also seen land-based trail projects around hiking and biking from our previous Innovation Acceleration program in communities from Boone County to Wyoming County.
There are also economic opportunities directly related to the Hatfield McCoy trail itself, and one of our top partners, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, is working to help people in southern West Virginia take advantage of those opportunities.
Last year, they launched a Powersports Technology program to teach students to service, repair, and maintain a variety of powersports equipment like motorcycles, ATV’s UTV’s and personal watercraft. Program graduates are prepared to be entry-level technicians and most often work as service technicians, but may also find employment as service writers, parts department personnel and sales staff.
For more information about this program, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With an uptick in resources available to communities as well through things like the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER program, which has put $92 million within the past year into the region for economic development, it is important for residents here to know about what is available and be able to connect with these opportunities to grow not only their local economy but their own prosperity.
Just last month at a convening of POWER grantees in Huntington, Jeff Lusk, director of the Hatfield McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, which operates the Hatfield-McCoy Trails system, said the ARC’s $1.3 million POWER grant to their organization will be used to help expand tourism-related business opportunities along the Hatfield McCoy Trail.
We look forward to seeing what additional helpful resources are on the horizon for our region when it comes to growing our recreation and tourism economy.