Segment aired on WCHS-TV, Charleston, W.Va., May 22, 2021
This will be Joe Boffo's fourth summer as an owner of Rustic Ravines, a cabin resort in Genoa that tailors to ATV riders.
He said the ATV tourism boom in Wayne County is just getting started.
“This is really adding a boost to our business," Boffo said. "We were already doing well organically, but this just maxed us out."
People have been riding what they call the outlaw trails in Wayne County for decades, but now that the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System has taken over some of the trails in the Cabwaylingo State Forest, the county is seeing an influx in visitors.
The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System opened up its Cabwaylingo trailhead in March and Boffo said it got an immediate response.
Rustic Ravines is responding by adding new features to its 400-acre property, including plans for a restaurant.
"We’re gonna put a pool table in here and give people some things to do around here," Boffo said, walking through the work in progress on the new restaurant.
The trails are also getting some national attention. Brian Fisher was in town this weekend staying at Rustic Ravines. He was the TV host of Fisher's ATV World on the Outdoor Channel and now travels the world looking for the top ATV trail experiences.
“It’s the best trail system in the country," Fisher said of the Hatfield-McCoy system. "You know, North America, really. This is where it’s at. This is the Mecca."
For 11 days, he has been in West Virginia shooting for his YouTube channel and leading tours.
“Just promoting the trail system to bring folks in and help boost the economy and get them out and enjoy this off-road sport," Fisher said.
Just this weekend, visitors packed the Rustic Ravines resort from places like Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania. Guided tours were offered for both the Hatfield-McCoy system and the outlaw trails.
“Best time in the world," said Harry McMahn, a visitor from Pennsylvania. "You can’t beat being out in the middle of the woods having a good ol’ time with these guys. It’s a lot of fun.”
Rustic Ravines is not the only business reaping the benefits. The riders have no choice but to come in through Route 152, giving all businesses like restaurants and gas stations more exposure — something Boffo expects to grow in the coming months.
“These places are all getting more opportunities to do more business, and I think other businesses will come in," Boffo said. “There’s other campgrounds coming in already and we don’t look at them as competition. We look at it as the more, the merrier.”
Boffo said Rustic Ravines has also been awarded an Abandoned Mine Land Grant to build an RV park on his property in hopes to add more options for people to stay.