Monday, September 10, 2012

Residents of former coal camp being evicted to make way for Hatfield-McCoy trail development

People living in the small community of Rita in Logan County, W.Va., may be evicted to make way for businesses catering to the all-terrain vehicle trails named for the Hatfield-McCoy feud. Residents were given notice last week by DB Land LLC of Dodge City, Kan., that their rental agreements would be terminated Oct. 1, and they must remove themselves and their property from the area, Martha Sparks of the Logan Banner reports. Most of the residents are elderly, disabled or low-income.

Logan Banner photo: Spears' home
Resident Russell Spears told Sparks before DB Land owned the area, the coal company that mined there allowed them to stay as long as they paid $200 a month rent and completed all maintenance. The company gave residents the option to keep their houses, or have them torn down and replaced with mobile homes, which almost everyone did, Spears said. He said when DB Land bought the area, company representative Mike Cline initially told residents they would be allowed to buy their lots, but the company changed course and decided to build a motel and convenience store that would cater to the ATV trail system, Spears said. (Read more)

The Hatfield and McCoy trails system was created by the state legislature to generate economic development through tourism in nine southern West Virginia counties. There are six trail systems that featured 500 miles of off-road trails in five counties in 2009, one of them connecting sites related to the notorious feud, the subject of a recent cable-TV miniseries. According to the system's website, "community connecting trails" are offered to visitors which allows them to access "'ATV-friendly towns' to experience the charm of southern West Virginia."

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