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East River Mountain Trail Project has soft opening

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GRATTON, Va. (WVVA) - The East River Mountain Trail Project had its soft opening on Friday. The project has been a little over a year in the making. It is a collaboration between the Town of Tazewell, Tazewell County, Friends of Southwest Virginia and the Thompson Charitable Foundation.

"The Town of Tazewell owns a large parcel of land, although it is not in the town limits," Amanda Hoops, Tazewell Today Executive Director, said. "We have acquired it throughout the years, and we have a trail developer through Outdoor Adventure Centers."

The recreation area currently has two trails with hiking, biking and rock climbing opportunities. The shorter trail is three-quarters of a mile, while the longer trail is two and a half miles.

"We have an easier trail and a more difficult trail for more experienced and seasoned hikers," Hoops said. "The harder trail takes you to what is known as Chimney Rock on the East River Mountain. It is an amazing view and overlook. The easier trail takes you to another amazing overlook that has a great view of Garden Mountain in Burke's Garden."

Hoops said this project hopes to bring tourism back into the Town of Tazewell.

"This is just one more way to bring people to Tazewell," she said. "We hope people will come here, hike the trail, come back to Tazewell, enjoy one of our amazing restaurants that we have... come to Main Street, do some shopping, really make it a whole day."

Friday's opening was only a soft opening. The trail will be closed in November and December for hunting season, but it will re-open in January.

"We wanted people to come out and experience the beautiful foliage," Hoops said. "The trees are so amazing."

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Hannah Howard

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