BECKLEY — A 44-mile-long scenic corridor sprinkled with historic points of interest as well as places to fish for trout, ride bikes, view wildlife and paddle kayaks weaves its way over, under and alongside the West Virginia Turnpike between Beckley and the Kanawha County river town of Pratt — although most Turnpike travelers are oblivious to it.
To let more people know about the Paint Creek Scenic Byway and what it has to offer, the Paint Creek Scenic Trails Association has created the Paint Creek Driving Tour, which uses a free downloadable mobile device app to give byway explorers access to 10 audio pieces with information on those who lived along the stream, from American Indian times through European settlement and farming to its coal mining boom and bust and present-day era of watershed restoration.
The mobile app, developed by i-Treks of Lewisburg, allows visitors to simply hit the Byway, starting from Tamarack, and as they approach points of interest, listen to site-appropriate audio stories automatically activated by arriving at preset GPS coordinates.
After three years of researching, recording and editing, “visitors now have the chance to learn about an area of Southern West Virginia as told by people who have lived there their whole lives,” said project director Catherine Moore.
In addition to oral histories and historic sidebars, the audio tour features traditional Appalachian music. Additional information, plus a gallery of original photography, is available on the Paint Creek Scenic Trails Association’s website, paintcreekwv.com, where the free app for the driving tour can also be found…
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