Trail System in Southwest Virginia Would Spearhead GrowthWhat's the word I'm looking for ...
By Larry E. Smith, writing in the Richmond Times-Dispatch
Thanks in part to actions by the Virginia legislature, areas of economically depressed Southwest Virginia may receive an influx of visitors, along with their vacation budgets, in the not-too-distant future.
Legislation that took effect in July created the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority (SRRA) to develop a system of multiple-use trails in several southwest counties. SRRA has chosen the name Spearhead Trails, since a map of Southwest Virginia resembles the head of a spear.
Spearhead Trails is envisioned as a system of managed, sustainable trails for all-terrain vehicles and off-highway motorcycle riders, hikers, bikers, and equestrians that will ultimately link to the popular Hatfield-McCoy Trail System in West Virginia. The trails will provide a wealth of recreation opportunities close to all Virginians and will likely attract visitors from all over the Eastern U.S. and beyond. [link]
We need more trails? We now have more trails and bike paths crisscrossing Southwest Virginia than we have jobs created by them. If you want to call part-time bicycle repairman and minimum wage canoe livery rental agent "jobs" jobs. Oh, lest I shortchange the effort, there is a guy who sells backpacks down in Damascus. If you want to run down and get his autograph.
This after Congressman Boucher made trails and paths his hallmark economic stimulus effort - to coin a phrase - many, many years ago.
This after he's poured millions of federal tax dollars into the campaign.
Now, a quarter century later, clueless individuals - without any viable economic proposals to make - still give us this:
"... may receive an influx of visitors."
"... the not-too-distant future."
"... is envisioned..."
"... will ultimately link ..."
"... will likely attract visitors ..."
"... will be an economic boon for Southwest Virginia."
"Similar growth could be expected ..."
"... will provide all Virginians..."
Here's the best line in the article:
"While trails on the ground may still be a couple of years off, now's the time to get behind the Spearhead Trails project."
All that's preventing us from realizing economic vitality here in Southwest Virginia is a lack of trails. That, of course, necessarily makes the fifty or so trails that exist here - most of which go virtually unused each day - what? Well, we'll need another commission to tell us that. Has this guy ever even been to Southwest Virginia?
A rather brilliant (former) Roanoke Times columnist wrote on this subject two full years ago (August 11, 2006), saying:
Politicians down this way sing that same song, because they too have no clue as to how to solve our problems. So they all talk of developing our tourism trade, of greater promotion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and of developing more opportunities relating to the Appalachian Trail. Of lots and lots of bike paths and hiking trails.So just a few more trails are going to finally bring prosperity to this tortured region? Gimme some of what you're smokin'. Make the pain go away.
In case you haven’t noticed, we now have dozens of local, state, and federally funded trails crisscrossing Southwest Virginia. Some are little more than cow paths while others, like the Virginia Creeper Trail down in Damascus, have come at great expense. There are now even plans in the works to link many of them to one another. And there are still more trails in the development and construction stages.
To what end? Well, nobody’s sure. “Tourists/hikers/bikers” are the answers you get - whoever they are; however that’s measured; whatever good they bring.
Better yet, you go away. You're just pissing me off.