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Spearhead Trails among Wise tourism successes

December 26th, 2013 8:37 pm by Stephen Igo

Spearhead Trails among Wise tourism successes

WISE — Efforts in Wise County and Southwest Virginia to build a robust tourism industry took strides forward in 2013 and look to achieve more in 2014.

The region’s Spearhead Trails initiative actually blazed trails into the economic development future this year with the opening of its all terrain vehicles (ATV) St. Paul trailhead segment called Mountain View Trail. The more than 70 trail miles of what Spearhead Trails organizers and planners hope will one day be a vast network of trails across the region could be expanded to more than 100 miles for Mountain View, Wise County Tourism Director Mike Wampler said last week.

Spearhead Trails seeks to add to the region’s job base with new business opportunities and customers, and projects a $10 million economic impact and $1 million in state tax revenues by 2018.

The Spearhead Trails initiative wasn’t the only tourism plus for the county. Wampler said that front in 2014 should range from a big splash on the big screen to a high note on High Knob.

“We’re hoping for the release and premiere of ‘Big Stone Gap,’ the movie (filmed this fall in Big Stone Gap and based on native author Adriana Trigiani’s novel of the same title), and while we don’t know any dates on that, it’s likely in 2014,” he said.

“We are expecting additional trail miles on the Mountain View Trail, like we talked about, and of course the new High Knob Tower should open early in the year. The anticipated opening for the new tower, last I heard, is in May, and that’s a really big deal.” 

The opening of a refurbished Inn at Wise, with modern additions, is another anticipated tourism plus for 2014.

“That obviously adds to the local lodging capacity and the potential for people to visit here and stay in something that’s been a big part of Wise and Wise County,” Wampler said.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Friday's print edition or our electronic edition.

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