CHARLESTON – Senator Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, today said he’s incredibly disappointed in Governor Jim Justice’s veto of Senate Bill 28, which would have permitted two or more contiguous counties to develop a recreational trail system for off-road vehicles.
The bill, which had overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House, would have allowed interested counties to create regional recreation authorities to develop and operate trail systems for use by off-road vehicle enthusiasts. In 2015, the Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute conducted a feasibility study that looked at the development of a new ATV trail system in Braxton, Calhoun, Clay, Gilmer, Lewis, Nicholas, and Webster counties.
“This veto is just another example of the Governor’s myopic vision when it comes to economic development.” Senator Karnes said. “To eliminate the ability for other counties to pursue trail development opportunities under the fallacy that there are only so many off-road vehicle enthusiasts to go around is ill conceived. It is punitive to the counties that are ready and willing to move West Virginia forward by seizing opportunities like this. West Virginia could be the destination of choice for off-road enthusiasts from the United States and around the world. It is ridiculous and self-serving for the Governor to base his decision on fear of competition for existing off-road trail systems like the Hatfield-McCoy Trail and the Governor’s Greenbrier Resort. West Virginia is blessed with literally millions of scenic acres of land and thousands of miles of trails. Communities across West Virginia stand to reap enormous benefit from this piece of legislation and it is a shame the Governor, who ran on expanding tourism in West Virginia, has elected to block this opportunity. We have to move beyond protecting the self-interest of a lucky few. I will continue to fight for these counties, and we will bring this bill back.”