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Hatfield McCoy Trails

Almost 80 percent of Hatfield-McCoy Trails now open to UTVs

LYBURN, WV - Hatfield-McCoy Trails has opened an additional 175 miles of trails to Utility Type Vehicles, a growing segment of the off-road enthusiast market.

“By opening all of our blue, or more difficult, trails to UTVs, we now have almost 80 percent of our 500 miles of trails available for side-by-sides,” said John Fekete, HMT deputy executive director. “And more are coming.”

HMT’s green, or easiest, trails have always been open for UTVs.

Also, it won’t be long, Fekete said, until the entire Little Coal River System, except trails reserved for motorcycles, will be open to UTVs, including the black, or most difficult, trails on the system. Little Coal River is located about 20 miles south of Charleston, WV on US119.

UTVs are becoming more popular for off-roading, and “I really believe that these are going to take over the market,” Fekete said. “They are very user-friendly. They have a steering wheel, a roll cage and are more comfortable. Also, obviously, two people can ride.”

UTV use has been limited until now because of concerns over how the machines would fare on the narrower trails, steeper grades and sharper turns of the blue trails.

“After several months of watching how the riders were handling the trails, we decided to open the more difficult trails,” Fekete said. Also, he noted, HMT staff has been using UTVs for about five years without incident. “We’ve field-tested them.”

Another limitation has been the lack of federal rules governing UTVs. However HMT has created its own list of regulations, mirroring those for ATVs and anticipating what eventual federal rules may cover, such as required labels, rider limitations and safety requirements.

“We feel we are leading the way for the rules and regulations for the UTV/side-by-side machines,” Fekete said.

The new HMT regulations are available online at www.trailsheaven.com.

The Hatfield-McCoy Trial System was created by the West Virginia Legislature to generate economic development through tourism in nine southern West Virginia counties. It currently operates six systems with more than 500 miles of trails. Each system is open 365 days a year to ATVs, dirt bikes, select utility vehicles (UTVs), mountain bikes, horses, and hikers. Many of the trail systems also offer community connecting trails that allow visitors to access “ATV-friendly towns” to experience the charm of southern West Virginia.


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