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Hatfield–McCoy Trails facts for kids

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The Hatfield–McCoy Trails, located in West Virginia, is a nationally known trail system most popular for its off-highway vehicle trails. The trail system is a multi-county project, including the West Virginia counties of Logan, Kanawha, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Wayne, Lincoln, Mingo, and Boone. The trails are managed by the Hatfield–McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, a legislatively created quasi-state agency and its paid staff, which is governed by a multi-county board of directors.

The name of the trail system is derived from the names of two families, the Hatfields and McCoys, who famously feuded near the West Virginia and Kentucky border after the Civil War.


The trail system officially opened under the name Hatfield McCoy in October 2000 with 300 miles (480 km) of trail operations. In 2002, the trail system added an additional 100 miles (160 km) of trails in Boone County, West Virginia. In 2004, the trail system again added 100 miles (160 km) of trail, to bring the trail system to 500 miles (800 km), making it the second largest off-highway vehicle trail in the world, second only to the Paiute ATV Trail. Currently there are six of the nine West Virginia counties (Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Logan, and Boone) with over 600 miles of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails. An expansion plan for the trail system plans for 2,000 miles of trails with suitable facilities and an Off-Highway Vehicle Park located in Kanawha County (CBER 2006).

Current trail system names (trailhead facility names in parentheses) include Rockhouse (Man/Gilbert), Bearwallow (Logan), Pinnacle Creek (Castlerock), Little Coal River (Water Ways), Indian Ridge (Ashland), Pocahontas (Bramwell), and Buffalo Mountain (Delbarton). Only Paiute ATV Trail in Central Utah has more miles of trails (2000)

As of October 19, 2015, Little Coal River and Ivy Branch trails are closed as land changed ownership.


The trail system caters to ATV, UATV, and motorbikes (dirt bikes), but hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders can also use the trails.

The trail system staff not only markets the trail system globally (the trails now receive visitors from all 50 states and nine countries), but also builds, maps, and maintains the trail system. Law enforcement officers patrol the trail to assure compliance with safety regulations. Motorized users of the trail system must wear a DOT-approved helmet and are prohibited from "doubling" (having a passenger), unless their vehicle is designed for two people. These rules, and a host of others, have allowed the trail system to enjoy a quality safety record, despite an increase in ATV-related injuries around the country.

Leadership history

Leff Moore

The management of the trail system is directed by a chief executive officer or executive director, who is appointed by the board of directors. The first executive director, Leff Moore, was one of the two men originated the idea of the trail system. The heart and soul of the trail system, Moore died in 2005, but not before seeing the fruits of his hard work make his dream a reality. At the time of his death, the trail system had become its own economic engine for the southern coalfields of West Virginia, with record number of tourists visiting the trail system each year.

Mike and Mark Whitt

Moore was followed by Mike Whitt, a local Mingo County, West Virginia native who worked in coal-related economic development projects, who, in his brief tenure as Executive Director, is credited with opening the first 300 miles (480 km) of trail. Whitt, in turn, was succeeded by his brother, Mark Whitt, who left the position in 2002, after which the Board of Directors appointed Matthew Ballard as director.

Matthew Ballard

Ballard, who had a background in organization management, public policy, and politics, is credited with catapulting the trail system into a nationally recognized and award-winning trail system. During this time, Ballard worked to garner the trail system international attention resulting in television features for the trail system on ESPN, ESPN 2, the Outdoor Channel, the Outdoor Network, the Speed Channel, and even as a featured part of a commercial for Suzuki ATV's. The trail system was even featured in men's magazines such as Men's Health. Under his direction, the trail system expanded by 100 miles (160 km) into Wyoming County, West Virginia, as well as into the towns of Pineville in Wyoming County and Williamson and Delbarton in Mingo County. Ballard managed the trail system through its first significant growth period, during a time when efficient organizational change and an aggressive marketing campaign helped to double revenues for the trail system.

Jeffrey T. Lusk

After three years of managing the trail system, Ballard moved on, at which time the Board of Directors appointed Jeffrey T. Lusk As Executive Director. Lusk currently serves as the Executive Director of the trail system and has expanded the trail system into McDowell and Mercer County, West Virginia. Lusk has a strong academic and practical background in economic development, having served for 11 years as the Economic Development Director of the Wyoming County Economic Development Authority. The current Deputy Executive Director is John Fekete, of Man, West Virginia.

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