HURRICANE, WV (WOWK) — With tourism in West Virginia dropping this summer because of the pandemic, the four West Virginia metro valley visitor bureaus now want to make locals “tourists” in their own backyard.
“A lot of people aren’t feeling safe traveling too far from home now,” said Kelli Steele, executive director of the Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“All of us I think are tired of being indoors and now that the weather is nice we want to get out and explore the woods and the rivers and lakes,” she said.
The four CVBs in the metro valley: Putnam, Charleston, Hurricane, and Barboursville, have come up with the “Route 60 Ramble.”
They named the initiative after the antique, well-traveled road goes through the entire state.
“Ramble is kind of an old term for an old meandering walk and that’s what we really wanted to encourage, where people kind of take their time and take a slow trip and sort of get to know the region a little better,” Steele said.
In its first phase, Route 60 Ramble highlights water access points, trails, and lakes, which Steele says are underused resources in the state.
“One of the great things about West Virginia is that they do have so many rural communities; one thing that we’re hearing in the research is that people feel more comfortable traveling to rural places or smaller towns, and West Virginia is so fortunate to have a totally rural and small-town state,” she said.
Towards late summer once school starts, Steele says they’ll focus on public art and historic sites.
All of Route 60 Ramble’s highlights can be found on the West Virginia Metro Valley Instagram.