PIKEVILLE - Business is booming at the Hatfield-McCoy River Trail in Pike County, which has led to efforts to clean up the waterway.
The 8.5 miles trail on the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River, which opened in the spring, is quickly becoming a hot spot for tourists. Trail director Ronnie Hylton says more than 200 people visited during three weekends in July. The business offers kayaking, canoeing and tubing trips.
"During the July 4 weekend, we just took one group after another," he said. "Even when it rains, we still have people on the water."
It's been popular since opening to the public in May.
"Since May, we have had people from overseas and Pennsylvania, Florida, Minnesota and Illinois, just to name a few," Hylton said.
"We were closed for two weekends in June due to water levels, but we've had over 200 people in three weekends in July."
With the number of tourists increasing, Hylton told the Appalachian News Express that he wants to keep the water clean and has started an effort to remove tires from the waterway.
He described it as a slow, labor-intensive project. He and an assistant wade into the water with firefighters, pull out the tires by hand and carry them to a spot where a company picks them up and takes them to a landfill. Hylton says 250 tires have been removed so far.