In June 2016, extreme rainfall across southern West Virginia caused major flooding in Greenbrier County, causing extensive damage to the lower part of the Greenbrier River Trail.
Subsequently, the Greenbrier River Trail Association (GRTA) solicited contributions to their new “Reconstruction Fund,” and consulted with West Virginia State Parks about repair of the trail. With the prospect of repairs to the trail by FEMA, the Reconstruction Fund was kept in reserve. Fourteen months later FEMA completed its repairs.
Unfortunately, just ten months after that, in May 2018, there was again heavy rainfall that caused extensive new damage to the trail between Caldwell and Anthony. This included washouts of the trail at mile markers (MM) 7.5 and 11.9, a large rock slide at MM 13, and the formation of a long mud bog along the trail at MM 10.8, near Keister. This time there was no FEMA assistance. Using $8,500 from the Reconstruction Fund and an additional $8,500 from Lewisburg Rotary, GRTA hired Lynch Construction to repair the damage and improve trail drainage.
A landslide following the 2016 flood also destroyed a toilet, shelter, and well along the trail that FEMA did not replace. The trail group has already built a new shelter at MM 9.5. This spring the group will be combining the last $2,000 in its Reconstruction Fund with a $3,000 grant it received from the Marie Leist Foundation and $5,000 from State Parks to build a new toilet.
GRTA has been successful also in being awarded funding through the Recreational Trails Program, which gives Federal grants administered by WV Division of Highways. Three of these grant projects are currently in process. The first is development of a 5.5 acre parcel near Caldwell that GRTA transferred to State Parks in 2015 for development of a new trailhead parking and picnicking area. The second is a grant for gravel replenishment along the trail and the third is for an additional toilet and shelters. Through the group’s main fundraising projects, the Great Greenbrier River Race, to be held Apr. 27 this year, and the annual Greenbrier River Trail Marathon, launched last October, GRTA has been able the meet the required 20 percent cash match for these grants.
However, there will be additional expenses required to achieve completion of some of these grant projects that the group has not yet been able to finance. For this reason, the Trail Association is now planning to bring to the public a new special-fund campaign. The announcement of this latest effort is expected in April. More information is at greenbrierrivertrail.com.