Friends of Cheat (FOC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Kingwood, West Virginia, dedicated to restoring, preserving, and promoting the outstanding natural qualities of the Cheat River watershed.  FOC is working in partnership with the West Virginia State Rail Authority (WVSRA) to purchase and develop rail corridor formerly owned by CSXT for conversion to a non-motorized, recreational rail-trail. FOC seeks proposals from qualified consultant teams, including a WV Licensed Professional Engineer (PE) and Licensed Remediation Specialist (LRS), to provide design and engineering services for the development of a plans, specifications, and engineering package (PS&E) for the trail corridor identified as BAJ 3.0 and BAJ 11.7, Manheim to Caddell.

The Cheat River Rail-Trail project is funded in part by grants from the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program administered by the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways. Design and control of the project must be in conformance with the guidelines of the Recreational Trails Program and all applicable State and Federal Regulations. All work will be in accordance with all pertaining Federal and State laws, rules, and regulations.

Access the full document:  FOC RFP_CheatRT_2018

West Virginia Northern Rail-Trail:  Kingwood to Tunnelton


BREAKING NEWS:  West Virginia Northern Rail-Trail purchased by Friends of the Cheat and the Preston County Parks and Recreation Commission!  Read full press release here.

WVN corridor map

Map of WV Northern rail-trail corridor (yet to be constructed)

Running from Kingwood to Tunnelton, the former West Virginia/Kingwood Northern rail-trail is a 10-mile scenic greenway.  Trail development will enhance the Preston County community and advance the revitalization of blighted maintenance facilities.  The non-motorized rail-trail will provide a safe corridor for exercise and short distance travel promoting health and wellness and walkable communities and creating economic opportunity though recreation related business. The line features a rare switch-back and was once operated as a scenic railroad.


Painting of the WV Northern shops area by Kingwood native, Marcy Miller Matherne who has graciously donated this print for reproduction to be sold as a fundraiser for the Kingwood-Tunnelton rail-trail project.


The restored railroad depot in Tunnelton. Photo by Jacki Marino – Running Bear Photography.

WVN water tower

Dr. Emory Kemp and Lynn Stasick (PAWV) stand next to the century old water tower.

Scenic view from trail

Scenic vista from the WV Northern corridor. Photo by Roz DeWitt.


Cheat River Rail-Trail


Friends of the Cheat: Rail Trail project from Chris Preperato on Vimeo.

The gem of Friends of the Cheat’s rail-trail projects is the Cheat River rail-trail, an approximate eight-mile corridor paralleling the Cheat River from Manheim to Morgan Run.  The corridor is nearly flat with outstanding natural scenery and access to the Cheat River Narrows.   This greenway is a top priority among FOC’s recreation projects and has been slowly progressing for over a decade.  The cooperation and commitment of Greer Industries is integral to the advancement of this project.  In 2012, the West Virginia State Rail Authority agreed to own the property with FOC serving as the Trail Manager.  The purchase of the property from CSXT is pending.

When completed, the non-motorized rail-trail will offer unparalleled access to the unique and beautiful Cheat River and  link to FOC’s Preston Site project which includes plans for a trail-head and long term dream of a Cheat River Interpretive Center to house the offices of FOC.

Cheat River rail-trail area map

Cheat River rail-trail area map – trail to be constructed.


Upper Cheat River Water Trail


Simply put, a Water Trail is a trail for boats.  The Upper Cheat River Water Trail stretches nearly 40 miles from the Black Fork in Hendricks to Rowlesburg.  This section of the Cheat boasts an active fishery and meanders through picturesque hills including areas of the Monongahela National Forest.  You do not need to be a paddling expert to enjoy this section of the Cheat River.  The Upper Cheat River Water Trail is family friendly (Class I-II) and offers great opportunities for fishing, swimming, and paddling.

Visit the trail’s brand new website, funded with support from the Tucker County CVB.

Paddling through Seven Islands

Seven Islands area of the UCRWT – Photo by Kent Mason