BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A crowd gathered at the scenic Stanaford Mine Road on Thursday, October 12, 2023, to celebrate the opening of the Wildwood Trailhead in the 613 acre Piney Creek Preserve.

It’s good news for the City of Beckley, which is just a few miles from the boundary of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.

“It gives the people of Beckley an accessible place where they can get outdoors, with their dogs, their friends, their families and bring them to see two amazing waterfalls that historically they have not had access to, and it’s only five minutes from downtown,” said Corey Lilly, chairperson of Beckley Outdoors Economic Plan.

The city launched its Beckley Outdoors Economic Action Plan with a mission to cut nearly 20 miles of hiking and biking trails in Piney Creek Preserve, which the non-profit West Virginia Land Trust owns and manages in partnership with the City of Beckley.

Wildwood Trailhead is the first step.

“We want to build a conservation movement and support a conservation movement throughout the state, and that requires getting folks out and having an experience on the land, so recreation is key to that,” said Jesse Cecil, operations manager at West Virginia Land Trust.

The trails lead away from the crowd, along this fence, which Lilly said local Scouts built, down to two waterfalls – Cranberry Creek Cascades and Little Whitestick Falls.

 Cecil said the streams are urban streams, flowing through Beckley.

Cecil’s daughter said her dad has been excited about Wildwood TrailHead.

“He’s been talking about it so much that I felt like I’ve already been here,” said eight-year-old Seneca. “And then, when I came here, it’s just so amazing.”