Scott EDA to apply for grant to improve trails at Devil’s Bathtub

Holly Viers • Jun 25, 2020 at 9:00 AM

GATE CITY — Scott County leaders are looking at ways to improve one of the county’s most popular tourist attractions.

The Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a letter of support agreement for a grant application being submitted by the county’s Economic Development Authority. If awarded, the funds would be used to make trail improvements at the Devil’s Bathtub.

“The proposed grant will close some mine portals … and then some of the trail will be rerouted,” said County Administrator Freda Starnes. “We’re going to try to make it safer and where there’s not so many creek crossings.”

The Jefferson National Forest is a partner in the grant, and Appalachian Conservation is doing the design, Starnes added.

“It’s definitely needed, if you’ve been up there,” said Supervisor Danny Mann. “It’s a really primitive trail. It’s tough to walk it.”

Mann added that a meeting was held recently to discuss how to get cell service in the Devil’s Bathtub area. Until that happens, Mann said, the addition of a Wi-Fi hotspot nearby will be a step in the right direction.

Starnes said the hotspot, along with security cameras, will be installed at the new parking area near the attraction next month, once the new fiscal year begins.

“We’re going to start working on that project July 1 because we needed to rent a Ditch Witch, because it’s a pretty good distance between where we’re putting one of the cameras and the building,” Starnes said. “This time of year, auditors pull things back if we have them dated June, paid in July, so we cut everything off at a certain point, as far as purchasing during the fiscal year.”

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