West Virginia Northern Rail-Trail purchased by Friends of the Cheat and the Preston County Parks and Recreation Commission! Read full press release here.
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.
After nearly fifteen years of planning, fundraising, and negotiations, FOC and the PRTC in partnership with the West Virginia State Rail Authority (WVSRA) have finalized the purchase of approximately 9 miles of railroad corridor from CSX Transportation for conversion to a rail-trail. This section of property begins just north of Greer’s Cheat River Limestone quarry in Manheim and follows the Cheat River Narrows where it crosses the river at FOC’s Preston Site and continues along the Cheat River Scenic Byway (CR72/River Road) where it abuts Allegheny Wood Product’s property at WV Route 7/Caddell Bridge.
Funding for the property acquisition came in the form of a Congressional earmark spearheaded by former US Representative Alan Mollohan and secured in 2008 by late FOC E.D. Keith Pitzer. These funds are administered by the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Division of Highways (DOH). FOC will use the remaining earmark funds to engineer trail design, including plans for the conversion of the trestle bridge and improvements to the trail head at Preston. FOC recently submitted a new proposal to DOH’s Recreational Trails program for phase one trail construction monies. The design phase is anticipated to begin in spring of 2018 and pending successful grant award, construction would commence in 2019.
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.
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 website, funded with support from the Tucker County CVB.
Seven Islands area of the UCRWT – Photo by Kent Mason