The former Elk River Railroad Inc. that once hauled tons of coal and timber thru the late 1970s and early ‘80s, will soon be the newest State Park in West Virginia. Governor Jim Justice announced the former railroad will be converted into a new 74-mile-long rail-trail state park by the year 2021. With the new linear State Park proposed to run the length of the Town of Clendenin, the team of E.L. Robinson Engineering and M. Miller Development was asked by the Kanawha County Commission to develop a trail town plan that would help Clendenin better position its businesses and residents to showcase and expand the retail and recreational environment along the trail and river. The Town is expected to have an influx of recreational tourism visitors to the new Elk River Rail-Trail State Park. By providing a platform for new trail amenities and businesses to be developed, while leveraging the existing Elk River Scenic River and its associated parks and recreational amenities, Clendenin has a great opportunity to capitalize on a large proximity of potential trail users and visitors within and outside the County and State.
The purpose of the Clendenin Trail Town Feasibility Study was to explore the development of recreational amenities associated with non-motorized trails (hiking, biking, equestrian, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, fishing, etc.) throughout the Clendenin area, through the identification of 1) potential trail amenities and trailheads, and 2) new and/or expanded businesses, and the implementation strategy needed for the development of such. The ultimate goal was to boost the economic activity in the region through destination tourism activities.
The final feasibility study included concept plans for proposed trailheads and other amenities, and the preparation of budgetary cost opinions for the County’s use in pursuing grant funding.