Elkins supports trail system proposal

ELKINS — The city of Elkins is supporting a proposal to create a Stuart Park Trail System that is being submitted to the U.S. Forest Service for consideration.

At Wednesday’s Elkins City Council meeting, City Clerk Jessica Sutton explained that the city received a request to support the proposal.

“This project was brought to my attention a couple months ago. Joey Riddle, who owns the bike shop in town, has been talking about this … The Forest Service has more of an interest nationally now in recreation. So there’s a few gentlemen who work for the Forest Service, one of them approached me and asked” if the city could write a support letter for the project, she said.

“The intention is to build a network of trails at Stuart Park just beyond where the current recreation area is and would be accessible for walkers, runners, bikers, and cross country skiers and snowshoers in the winter time. At this time it wouldn’t be used for horses,” Sutton said.

Council voted in favor of sending the letter of support, and Mayor Van Broughton said, “I definitely support this. I think it’s great, especially for biking.”

The support letter is addressed to Supervisor Clyde Thompson with the Monongahela National Forest. It is signed by Broughton and reads:

“In my capacity as mayor, I am in favor of the creation of this trail system as a compatible goal to that of the city’s. Elkins and the surrounding area, particularly ‘the Mon’ as it is affectionately called, encompasses some of the most impressive natural beauty and outdoor opportunities around. The year-round availability and easy accessibility of this resource is of enormous benefit. Capitalizing on this for residents and tourists alike can only strengthen the health of our community and cement our future as a viable and sustainable economy.

“In addition, the city of Elkins highly values community partnerships like this one, which utilize local resources for local benefit.”

The Monongahela National Forest includes more than 921,000 acres of federally owned land. Stuart Recreation Area is set along the banks of the Shavers Fork River.

The next Elkins City Council meeting is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at City Hall.