ODNR celebrates abandoned mine land cleanup, new trailhead

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trailhead sign for baileys trail
A new trailhead was completed, along with the elimination of abandoned mine land hazards, in Nelsonville, Athen County, Ohio. The trailhead, part of the Baileys Trail System, provides access to the new 88-mile single track mountain bike trail in the Wayne National Forest. (submitted photo)

NELSONVILLE, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Mineral Resources Management celebrated the completion of a new trailhead and the elimination of abandoned mine land hazards in Nelsonville on June 21. The trailhead, part of the Baileys Trail System in Athens County, provides access to the new 88-mile single track mountain bike trail in the Wayne National Forest.

“It’s exciting that this land can once again be enjoyed safely by the community,” ODNR cirector Mary Mertz said. “The AML program continues to benefit Ohioans by restoring the health of the former mine lands and providing economic growth opportunities across Appalachian Ohio.”

Doanville is the first part of the two-phase project. A second trailhead site in Chauncey — the main trailhead of the Baileys Trail System — is expected to open next summer. The cost estimate for this project is $1.7 million. ODNR is using federal grant funds to eliminate AML hazards and build the trailheads at both locations.

The project eliminates dangerous mine openings left over from the region’s coal production. Construction began in October 2020 with a contract cost of $196,000 and was completed on May 14.

ODNR coordinated with the Baileys Trail System Partnership and the Outdoor Recreation Council of Appalachia on the project. The council oversees maintenance of the Baileys Trail System.

An economic impact study done by Quantified Ventures Inc. estimates that these new trail systems could increase tourism in the region by 180,000 annual visitors and bring in $24.8 million in local economic spending over the next decade.

ODNR administers a federal AML program. Prior to 1977, national laws did not require restoration of desirable environmental conditions to surface mined areas.

Related content:

Reports: Plugging wells, reclaiming mine land could create thousands of jobs

Abandoned mine land legislation hits Senate

Town hall showcases opportunities for reclaimed mine land

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