Cathy St. Clair
Gas Company officials have indicated a willingness to talk with
Buchanan County representatives and members of the Lonesome Pine
Trail Riders group about the possibility of opening up a route on
which ATV riders may travel in Buchanan County.
Zajdel, of CNX, said the company wants to try to work with
Buchanan County on the issue, but he said he doubted that the
solution would involve a "wholesale unlocking of the
gates" the company has on roads leading to its gas wells.
want to have a good relationship with the folks down there,"
Zajdel said from his Pennsylvania office. "We do want to see
if there is something we can work out and maybe we can come up
with a piece of property as an alternate."
indicated the company continues to have concerns about leaving its
gates unlocked -- primarily for safety reasons. In addition, he
noted in the past the company has had problems with copper thefts
from its well sites.
riders appearing before the board of supervisors to discuss the
issue in the past, noted they realized the company was having
copper theft problems, but said they are law-abiding citizens and
have nothing to do with the thefts. Further, they suggested the
presence of ATV riders on the roads served as a deterrent to
would-be thieves, who might not be as likely to try to steal from
an area they knew was well-traveled.
noted the feedback CNX has received as a result of its decision to
lock the gates has not all been negative. Some feedback, he said,
has been received from landowners in Buchanan County who have
supported the company's decision to keep the gas well road gates
not us against everybody," Zajdel said.
he is hopeful that in talking with Buchanan officials and ATV
riders that something can be worked out which will be amenable to
the company, the county and its ATV riding citizens.
Grundy Board of Supervisors Chairman Carroll Branham said he and
Rocklick Supervisor David Ratliff met with CONSOL-CNX officials
last week and out of that meeting, he said, came discussion
related to organizing the Lonesome Pine Trail Riders, to include
officers and a 501-3C non-profit status.
information was then communicated to the Lonesome Pine Trail
Riders and according to Roger Street, the group will meet on March
3 at 6 p.m. at the Webb Chapel Church on Rt. 460 at Marvin to get
itself organized as requested.
December, local ATV riders have been seeking help from the
Buchanan County Board of Supervisors to get CNX to reopen the
gates it has across roads leading to its gas well sites, or at
least to again provide ATV riders with keys to the gates allowing
them to access properties which they have said they have
permission from the land owners to ride upon, lease themselves, or
in some cases, which they themselves own.
group has been before the board on several occasions and met in
late December with State Sen. Phillip Puckett and Del. Dan Bowling
to discuss the issues. At the conclusion of that meeting, Puckett
and Bowling said they would sit down and talk with CNX to
determine if there was a way to reopen some gas well roads to area
suggested then by the legislators that perhaps there could be
something worked out with the company where one or two key holders
in the ATV group would hold keys and be responsible for seeing
that the gates are unlocked and then locked again as riders use
company has not stated a position in regard to that suggestion.
also suggested previously that a definite trail route be selected
to further pinpoint the areas in which the group wants to be able
to ride its ATVs.
want to find a solution that maybe both sides can live with,"
Puckett said at the December meeting.
"I've been on those trails and I ride four-wheelers
and motorcycles myself."
Osborne, a member of the Lonesome Pine Trail Riders group, noted
that when CNX locked the gates, the company in effect
"destroyed" the trails used by local ATV riders in
that ATV riders were willing to do whatever they needed to do to
have the privilege to ride the roads again.
this month, the board of supervisors adopted a resolution calling
for the establishment of an ATV Trail Authority. The authority
would have to be approved by the legislature and would be set up
in part to develop an ATV trail through Buchanan County which
might tie into similar trails in West Virginia and at the
Buchanan-Dickenson County line.
committee to work on the project was appointed earlier this month
at the board meeting. Branham and Garden Supervisor Buddy Fuller
were named to the committee as representatives of the board. David
Lowe was appointed as a citizen member of the committee and
members of the Lonesome Pine Trail Riders were also asked to
want to do it right," Osborne said previously in discussing
the issue. "We're law abiding citizens and just want the
opportunity to get out and enjoy ourselves."