Establishment of SRRA
In late 2006/early 2007, a number of local government officials and interested citizens engaged Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) staff requesting assistance in determining the level of interest in and, feasibility of, a multi-use trail system within the coalfields/Heart of Appalachia Region of Virginia, aka “far Southwest Virginia (FSWVA).” Per those initial meetings and VTC research, the Hatfield-McCoy Trails System (HM), an off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails venue in neighboring West Virginia, was selected as the base model due to its similar terrain, land ownership patterns and local economy.
On March 13, 2008, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation creating the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority (SRRA), a public corporation and governmental instrumentality with the ability to exercise the public powers of the State.
Its mandate is to establish and maintain “…a system of recreational trails and appurtenant facilities, including trail-head centers, parking areas, camping facilities, picnic areas, recreational areas, historic or cultural interpretive sites, and other facilities…” in the Southwest Regional Recreation Area. SRRA serves and supports all jurisdictions within the LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau PDCs, encompassing the Counties of Tazewell, Buchanan, Russell, Dickenson, Wise, Scott and Lee and the City of Norton.
SRRA’s stated Mission is to “…create and manage multi-use trails in the Southwest Regional Recreation Area to facilitate, enhance and sustain economic development and job creation in Southwest Virginia.” The initiative is known as Spearhead Trails. Achieving the intent of its Charter and implementing its Mission will be accomplished through the development of an international recreational multi-use trail destination serving adventure tourists throughout the Eastern United States and beyond.
The vision of SRRA for Spearhead Trails
- Utilize and protect Virginia’s natural assets, mountains, rivers, forests, vistas and local culture to create safe outdoor adventure opportunities, enhancing visitor experience.
- Develop a mutually beneficial relationship with all partners (including governments, landowners, local entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders).
- Serve as a catalyst to create an environment for diversified and sustainable local jobs.
- Raise the quality of life for all citizens in FSWVA. Generate additional revenues and taxes to support local and State government. Spearhead Trails will be a major economic resource for FSWVA and the Commonwealth.