The popularity of southern West Virginia's Hatfield-McCoy Trail System led Marshall University's Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute to begin studies into the feasibility of a similar network in the central part of the state.

After 2015, those studies eliminated Calhoun and other counties, in favor of a rail to trail system along the Elk River.

Also dropped after a 25-year effort, the Calhoun Park Dark Skies Project, with Watoga now being designated as the state's first dark skies park.

The trails feasibility study was supported by the Calhoun Commission, with projected projects for Braxton, Clay, Gilmer, Lewis, Nicholas and Webster counties.

"The preliminary results of the study show that the trail system would have a fairly significant impact on central West Virginia," said Sen. Greg Boso, R-Nicholas, who was among those attending a public workshop on the proposed trail system in Richwood last month. "It would be a welcome breath of fresh air for an area that has relied heavily on the coal industry and help it overcome the travesty of its decline."

It was not to be.