Authority Attorney Chip Shaffer updated the HMRRA board members about recent legislative meetings as well as negotiations with property owners at the October board meeting.
Shaffer said Massey currently controls a key piece of property needed to make the proposed Boone County project a reality.
Shaffer said one other land owner controlling another tract needed is from out of state and has had a hard time believing that any state could figure out a way to protect a property owner from liability lawsuits.
"But, we are working on them," Shaffer said. "They have a lot of questions and deserve some thoughtful answers.”
Shaffer said that in nine years of continuous operation neither the authority nor the land owners have been sued. Shaffer said the West Virginia Legislature was wise in developing protection from predatory lawsuits on behalf of landowners and that the communities and residents have benefited the most from the Hatfield-McCoy Trails.
"We continue to be the safest place in the world to participate in this sort of activity," Shaffer said.
Executive Director Jeff Lusk said the current trail system in Boone County, called Little Coal River, is not actually connected to any town and is land locked. Because of that, Boone County has not been getting the economic benefit of the trail system that other systems which have a connector to a municipality have seen.
To that end, the Boone County Commission has helped fund a new trail system for their county, hopefully to connect with Danville and Madison.
Lusk said 15 extra miles of single track and UTV tracks have been put down in the Little Coal River system.
The long-discussed connector for the Fountain Place Mall is waiting on mapping agreements to be signed with property owners, Fekete said. The Wayne County trail system is waiting on the US Army Corps of Engineers to sign off on it.
Recently, Lusk met with the Wayne County Commission to talk about the project and has contacted Congressman Nick Joe Rahall for his assistance in dealing with the Corps.
"We are done on our end," Lusk said. "We handed over our maps to the corps. This project is fully funded."
HMRRA Board President Art Kirkendoll said he will send a letter to the congressman to try and get some quicker response from the Corps.
"This board cares about every county in our system, not just one,” Kirkendoll said.
Fekete said the Twin Falls connector project had a small problem with a proposed mine in the area that nobody had been notified about. Fekete has been working on mapping agreements for a trail system in the Harts Creek area currently.
Lusk said an 80 acre tract of land had been identified, but it was oddly shaped.
"It would require us to cross on and off the property to make loops," Lusk said, explaining that an ancillary tract of property is nearby that the authority would like to acquire to make a system there possible.
"This system will have more land owners to deal with than any other system we have," Lusk said.
Board member Neal Vance said he felt the project would work out.
When completed an eastern Field Office will be placed in the Harts area to handle the eastern Trails.
Fekete said the Pinnacle Creek Connector project is moving on. Recently, Fekete, Lusk and Sen. Richard Browning met with the new property owners there who are from Russia and an additional property owner there and they all toured the proposed trail property. Lusk said there is also great interest in a camp ground in the area.
"Right now, it's down to two land owners," Lusk said and Richard Browning said both Blue Stone Coal and the Russian investment group seem agreeable to the proposal.
The 200-foot tunnel for Matewan to Buffalo Creek is moving forward and more single track for dirt bikes and more ATV tracks are being built in Buffalo Mountain and Pinnacle Creek, which should amount to quite a few extra miles according to Lusk, who said Matewan will get extra miles as well.
"Matewan's system is sort of like an island and we are going to add on 25 miles of extra trail to that town and the tunnel," Lusk said. The project is the next step to connecting with the Buffalo Mountain system.
Mapping for Mercer county is completed and 80 miles of trail there is done. Maps will be sent to the Pocahontas Land Company, Lusk said.
"It could connect three towns to Indian Ridge," Lusk said. "That will make for a very large trail system." Plans are also in the making for connecting two more towns to the Indian Ridge trail system in the future.