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Upshur County Trails volunteer Rachel Garton Weber discusses improvements being made to the nearly-six-mile trail system inside the Upshur County Recreational Park near the high school.

Commission pledges to assist with Upshur County Trails enhancements

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Trails Volunteer group earned $2,896 through a Try This West Virginia Grant to improve the trail system by the high school.

On behalf of the Upshur County Trails Volunteer Group, volunteer Rachel Garton Weber attended the Sept. 3 Upshur County Commission meeting to tell the commission how the group intends to spend the money they gained through the grant.

“We have about six miles of trails now, and we applied for the grant to help with signage of the trail,” Weber said. “One of the things that we received money was to build a kiosk and the Buckhannon Work Adjustment Center is currently working on a kiosk.”

The all-volunteer group plans to install one kiosk at the main entrance to the trails near the playground inside the Upshur County Recreational Park, and they have plans for a second kiosk.

“The kiosks will have a sign, which also comes with a map, hopefully like the current map that we have, but we have access to 200-plus more acres of land, so we’ll be expanding the trails, maybe by 10 miles or maybe more,” Weber said. “The maps will need to be updated pretty regularly, but we would like to get a map on the trail kiosk pretty soon, so people are pleased to come out and find a way around the trails.”

The volunteers are also building an archway to the trails and putting up directional signs with arrows to help people navigate the trails.

“The middle school students, hopefully if they’re in school this year, will be helping to design the signs in [Upshur County Trails volunteer] JJ Ford’s technology class,” Weber said. “Even if they can’t make them physically, they’ll be able to do some of the computer work to help with their education.”

The volunteers will also be able to establish native wildflowers patches and plants on the trails, thanks to the grant and they will be delivered by the end of September or beginning of October.

The only item they did not receive through the grant was their request to put gravel in a lot, which would allow the group to put down a parking lot for people using the trails.

Commissioner Kristie Tenney asked where they wanted to put the gravel.

“When you’re driving right into the main entrance of the high school, on the left, there’s a well road, and I think it’s even on Google Maps across from where the soccer fields,” Weber said. “I think the soccer teams and lacrosse teams use that parking spot. Also, there’s a little gravel there now, but there’s not a lot and I think they were wanting to gravel that.”

Weber said they plan to have the project completed by August 2021.

Commissioner Sam Nolte made a motion pledging the commission will help with purchasing a second kiosk if the volunteers don’t have enough grant money left over and potentially with the cost of graveling the proposed parking area, provided the Upshur County Board of Education, which owns the land, gives permission. Commissioner Kristie Tenney seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

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