Charleston, WV (WOWK) – The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System saw a record-breaking year for permit sales in 2020. According to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice’s office, the trail system sold nearly 65,000 trail permits last year, despite an eight-week closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“West Virginia is an industry leader in outdoor recreation, and our beloved Hatfield-McCoy Trail System is a gem unlike any other,” Justice said. “Since I’ve been in office, I’ve had the privilege of seeing this trail system expand to include more miles of trails and welcome new tourism businesses to support this increase in ridership.”
2020 marked the highest number of permits the trail system has ever sold, with a 15% lift over 2019 sales, as well as its 20th consecutive year of ridership growth.
“Tourism across the country took a hit last year because of the pandemic, yet we still found ways to grow here in Almost Heaven, West Virginia,” said Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby. “Travel trends show that more and more visitors seek outdoor experiences that allow for social distancing, and the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System does just that along the beautiful mountains of southern West Virginia. We can’t wait to witness their growing success in the coming year, and for decades to come.”
Officials say the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System welcomed more than 8,500 new riders in 2020, with a growth in both resident and non-resident ridership. Non-West Virginia residents made up more than 80% of the trail system’s total sales.
“We couldn’t be where we are today without the longstanding support of West Virginia’s greatest cheerleader: Governor Justice,” said Jeffrey Lusk, Executive Director of the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority. “It’s been a privilege to watch the trails continue to grow, and we are seeing more investment from lodging providers, restaurants, and supporting outfitters like never before.”
The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System is one of the largest off-road vehicle trail systems in the world, and on March 1, the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System will be expanding with the Ivy Branch and Cabwaylingo trail systems opening in Lincoln and Wayne counties. Officials say the two new systems will push the trails to nearly 900 miles of off-road riding for ATVs, UTVs, ORVs, and off-road motorcycles.