SHINNSTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — Fifteen thousand dollars have been awarded to Lincoln High School CTE Business students in the form of an Economic Projects Impacting Communities (EPIC) Tourism Grant, which school officials are hoping will bring more attention to local communities in Shinnston.

On top of the attention that the grant hopes to bring to the area, another purpose behind it is to improve tourism opportunities for Shinnston as a whole.

“Here in the Shinnston area, we have a wonderful West Fork Rail Trail system and Water Trail System, that we feel has been underutilized,” said Julie Yearego, a Business Teacher for Lincoln High School.

The money will allow the school to purchase and design new signage to go alongside and outside the trails to direct more traffic to them. The business students will volunteer with the City of Shinnston to help design the new signs and place them throughout the city.

“It’s a great leadership opportunity for our students,” Yearego commented. She said that the students are very excited, and they will also help facilitate the planning of new events to be had along these trails to attract more attention in the community. The first event that they’ve planned so far is a Haunted Trail Event, which will be taking place on Friday, Oct. 13th.

By updating the signage and hosting more events on the trail, Yearego is hopeful that more people from other areas will come to Shinnston and explore what these trails have to offer. “So, the more people that can visually see it and the more events we can hold to bring attention to that hopefully will bring in more tourism, more money, but also just so people can know and appreciate different parts of West Virginia better,” she stated.

Yearego feels that the local community in Shinnston will benefit from these upgrades to the trails. “I think it’ll bring more of a sense of pride in some of the resources, again, that we have here,” Yearego said.

Yearego also told her students last year that even if they choose to leave the area after high school, they’ll be leaving Shinnston in a better condition as a result of this initiative. “So when you come back, there’ll be better signage, there’ll be better utilization, you can bring your friends and family back to your home communities and it’ll look nicer,” she told the students.

This grant was provided by the West Virginia Department of Education in collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Tourism.