Oil and gas and trails? Let’s work together.
Mark Schooley, General Manager and the mountain bike guy at Big Bear Lake Camplands recently contacted me as an IMBA representative and asked for assistance in saving his trails from the potential damage due to a Marcellus gas well that will be set on his trails. Since Mark does not own the mineral rights there was not much that could be done to stop the wells.
Honestly, Mark was not interested in stopping the wells but wanted to work with the company to make sure that effected trails would be relocated and that trail users were provided safe routes. When I spoke to Mark, he stated, “I am a businessman and understand what drilling brings to our state. This land was purchased and developed it into a successful family recreational business and the trails are a big part of that business. There did not seem to be any recognition of their value to the success of my business.”
I don’t understand why one business is able to displace another with no consideration or requirement to work with the business for the best solution for all, especially when someone like Mark has invested so much into this West Virginia company. Big Bear Lake Camplands was started in 1972 and continues to be one of WVMBA’s most active promoters. Mark was able to file the equivalent of an injunction based on safety to make the oil/gas company work with him to develop the safest route into the drilling site. Why did this have to go to that level? Why didn’t this company approach this with that in mind from the start? Maybe they don’t understand the value of trail systems.
When I visit our representatives on Capital Hill, I supply them with information that shows how taxes in towns where trails have been created have increased significantly because of the economic benefit trails bring. Their value and the value of bicycling in our great state is one of the best kept secrets in West Virginia. I am working to change that and let folks know the extent of what we bring the West Virginia’s economy. Do you have statics or information that can help me quantify that information? Send it my way! Even data on what you personally spend to ride, from the cost of your bike if purchased in West Virginia, to the miles you drive to ride would be of huge assistance. I would appreciate any information you would like to send! Feel free to email me at email@example.com. Thanks!