OAK HILL — Council moved forward on a large land conservation effort that could change the face of the city by making Oak Hill a destination for outdoor adventure tourism.
City Manager Bill Hannabass said the proposed Needleseye Boulder Park is a nearly 300-acre destination in the Minden area of Oak Hill on land currently owned by Berwind Land Co.
“This will attract a huge number of people. It will enhance our tourism industry and help the City of Oak Hill economically,” he said. “It protects a treasure, not just for West Virginia, but for our nation. It is strikingly beautiful.”
On Monday council committed $25,000 toward purchase of the property and entered into a partnership with West Virginia Land Trust to secure the remaining funds through the organization as well as grants.
Ashton Berdine, lands program manager with the nonprofit land conservation group, said his organization often has trouble finding public recreation projects in which to invest. The group preserves working farms, historic sites and wildlife habitats across the state.
“The property is on a hillside, but there is plenty of space for gentle walking trails,” he said. “I can see this being used for climbers, but also older members of the community looking for a easy wooded walking trail…”