SCOTT COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Multiple trail improvements are on their way to the Devil’s Fork trail system, officials say.
According to Gwen Mason, the public information officer for George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, several projects are slated to begin soon.
“In partnership with Scott County, Appalachian Conservation Corps, and Virginia Energy, AMLER funds will be applied to a trail project set to begin soon to make several improvements to the Devils Fork Trail and increase safety,” Mason said.
Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) funds are federal dollars granted for the repair and development of land in areas that previously housed mining operations. As part of their project, the project will close two abandoned mine portals near the trails.
Mason said the work will reroute existing trails to avoid rough terrain and reduce the number of streams hikers have to cross on their way. For water that trekkers do need to cross over, crews will move the native stone to provide more crossing opportunities and protect stream banks.
Outside of the trail itself, improvements to parking areas and new directional signs will make getting to the Devil’s Bathtub easier.
The Devil’s Bathtub Loop nets several emergency calls per year in its current state, and hikers regularly require rescue after rising creeks render their route back impassable.