Eric Douglas Published

6 Abandoned Mine Lands Sites Tapped For Development

Terraced land after a surface mine has closed operations.
A section of surface mine that is now part of the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area in Logan County.
Eric Douglas/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has hundreds of abandoned mine lands sites many decades old. A report from the Ohio River Institute says that Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) in West Virginia — these are coal mines abandoned before 1977 — account for 173,000 acres of land with reclamation costs estimated at $5 billion. 

Only Pennsylvania has more unreclaimed pre-1977 mine lands than West Virginia. More than 30 percent of West Virginians live within a mile of an unreclaimed mine site.

To view a map of known AML sites in West Virginia, click here.

In November 2022, the U.S. Office of Surface Mine Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) announced West Virginia would receive $26.6 million to reclaim these sites. 

Gov. Jim Justice and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) Secretary Harold Ward recommended six AML Economic Revitalization (AMLER) Program projects Wednesday to use that money for economic development.

The WVDEP’s Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation (AML) administers the grant funding, which is provided by the OSMRE.

To qualify, the proposed economic development projects must be located on or adjacent to mine sites that ceased operations prior to the signing of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act on August 3, 1977.

OSMRE must also give final approval of the projects and amounts awarded.

The recommended projects are:
Mingo County
Cinderella Adventure Resort – $3,080,886
This project will be built on 4,600 acres in the unincorporated town of Cinderella, which includes 22 miles of Hatfield McCoy Trails. When fully funded, the Cinderella Adventure Resort proposes the construction of the Cinderella Adventure Lake, a restaurant-store-event center and entertainment venue, conference center, 15 cabins, 20 RV sites, and the renovation of the historic Cinderella Company.

Wood County
Mountwood Park Trail Center and Campground – $2,600,247
This project will construct a state-of-the-art trail-side campground and 5 to 7 miles of new, bike-optimized trails in the soon-to-launch Mountaineer Trail Network.

Tucker County
Davis Center Headquarters Facility – $12,500,000
Funding to repurpose and revitalize existing structures in the Davis area for local residents and visitors to include multi-family dwellings, community arts center, community shops, outdoor amphitheater, office spaces, bike park and trailhead connectivity to existing trail system, wellness center, and a STEM educational facility.

McDowell County
Range 1 Training Facility – $2,058,050
Construction of a 900-acre state and local law enforcement and military training facility. Once complete, the facility will consist of a main operations building, 10 cottages, a less-than-lethal training facility, multiple shooting ranges, and a 300-acre land navigation and wilderness survival area, which will provide a realistic training environment for our U.S. military members and enhance the capabilities of our state and local law enforcement officers.

Tucker County
Tap Room Coworking Synergy Center & Apartments – $727,000
This multi-use, shovel-ready construction project in Thomas will provide decentralized, flexible workspace options to attract and retain remote workers, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. This facility will house a coworking and small business center with support services to foster economic growth and diversification, job creation, and capital investment, as well as 10 critically-needed workforce housing units.Harrison County
Stonewood I-79 Development – $5,000,000
This project consists of site development of 393 acres of previously strip-mined land in Stonewood, located on both sides of I-79. The reclaimed, developed site will be suitable for industrial, commercial, and/or residential use and spur economic growth and development in the area.