Elk River Trail TownS!

Trail Town Entrepreneurship Events

Four public meetings for Elk River trail towns including Clendenin, Clay, Gassaway, and Sutton, West Virginia were held in 2023 with over 150 people in attendance! Folks came to learn about new business development ideas for the Elk River region and learn about Advantage Valley’s 🚀FASTER WV Program to help start or grow businesses! Terrell Ellis, Bryan Shaw & Tyler Brandstetter presented the plan and answered questions.

A FASTER WV Build Your Business Workshop will be held in Gassaway on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 6 pm.  

Register here!

Trail Town Event Details

Executive Summary of the Elk River Trail Town’s Development Plan


The outdoor recreation industry is thriving in West Virginia. Each year, tens of millions of people flock to the state to recreate in its forests, mountains, and charming communities. This activity supports 23,000 direct jobs and generates $700 million in wages and salaries for citizens of the state each year. Recognizing the economic development power of the industry, the State has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in projects that improve recreation infrastructure and create new destinations in recent years.

Recreation and tourism investments in Central West Virginia have centered around the establishment of the Elk River Trail System, which runs through portions of Kanawha, Clay, and Braxton Counties. Paralleling the Elk River, the Elk River Trail System provides recreation opportunities for anglers, boaters, cyclists, hikers, and equestrians living in or visiting the center of the state. The Trail System is a potential game changer for the communities of Sutton, Gassaway, Clay, and Clendenin. However, to maximize the economic development power of the Trail System, communities must implement intentional strategies to accommodate an increased number of visitors from different consumer groups.

Key strategies identified in this report include:

  • Development of nearly 70 new businesses over the next 10 years.
  • Construction of key infrastructure to promote the flow of people between the Trail System and Trail Towns.
  • Marketing of the Trail System and Trail Towns through existing and new outlets.
  • Adoption of local policies designed to help with visitor attraction and small business development. Implementation of these and other strategies included in this report is expected to cost just over $4 million over the next 10 years. However, the economic impact associated with new tourist activity in Sutton, Gassaway, Clay, and Clendenin is much more substantial. The report finds that the Elk River Trail Towns could reasonably anticipate $250 million in new sales activity over the next 15 years. This spending would result in nearly $390 million in regional economic activity. This activity would support 195 full- and part-time jobs across different sectors of the economy.