GATE CITY — New opportunities for outdoor recreation are coming to Scott County.
Shawn Lindsey, executive director of Spearhead Trails, announced several new projects and initiatives during last week’s meeting of the Scott County Board of Supervisors.
In the coming months, people will be able to enjoy new or expanded trails for horses, Jeeps and dual-sport bikes, with a goal of attracting more visitors to the region.
“The trails are just the beginning,” Lindsey said. “We work with trying to develop properties around those trails for economic development.”
About Spearhead Trails
Since 2008, Spearhead Trails has been creating and managing multi-use trails throughout Southwest Virginia, while also connecting them to towns and businesses to spur economic growth.
Operating as part of the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority, Spearhead Trails serves Tazewell, Buchanan, Russell, Dickenson, Wise, Scott and Lee counties and the city of Norton.
Spearhead Trails has been prioritizing horse trails in Scott County, particularly in the Dungannon area. Work is being done to connect some of the area’s unpaved roads to create a longer route for horseback riding.
“We’ve talked to VDOT, and they’ve approved using any of the unpaved roads for horse trails that we want to use,” Lindsey said. “We’ve linked these together to try to create routes that would leave Dungannon and look at beautiful farmland, river valleys, things like that. … So we’ve created about 60 miles of networks that will be focused between Dungannon and Nickelsville and at High Knob.”
Ultimately, Lindsey said, people will be able to take a weeklong excursion from one town to the next on horseback, something that few areas in the U.S. offer.
Jeep and dual-sport bike routes
Lindsey said this project will affect nearly “every corner of Scott County” and will also utilize some unpaved roads. Six routes for Jeeps and dual-sport bikes are already in the works on existing gravel roadways in the region, and three of them are almost exclusively in Scott County.
Routes currently in the works include Water’s Edge, which will be located around the Clinch River; Big Moccasin; Tomahawk, which will feature High Knob; Thunderstruck, also featuring High Knob and parts of Scott County; Wilderness Road; and Love Lady.
“When (people) come to the area, they’ll be riding all these trails, staying in these areas and restaurants,” Lindsey said. “Each trail will have a story that will be told, historical points of interest, cultural things.”
On May 21 and 22, Spearhead Trails will complete a project to improve the existing road to the Devil’s Bathtub. The project will involve improving the drainage, installing culverts and applying gravel to the area.
In the future, Spearhead Trails will be exploring ways to create ATV trails in Scott County. The organization will also be working with the U.S. Forest Service to identify areas that need pedestrian bridges.
“We’ll be mapping the Devil’s Fork, we’ll be mapping lots of trails in the High Knob area and looking for areas that need improvement to where we could get more people using those trails if they were a little bit more accommodating,” Lindsey said.