CLIFFTOP, WV (LOOTPRESS) – One West Virginia waterfall has been officially renamed after Governor Jim Justice’s popular dog “Babydog.”
During the ceremonial trout stocking at Babcock State Park on Monday, Governor Justice also announced the completion of the new Sewell Trail which spans from Babcock State Park to the abandoned coal town of Sewell at New River.
The new trail is part of the former Mann’s Creek Railway which brought coal and lumber from Clifftop and Landisburg down to Sewell to the C&O mainline. After the railroad was abandoned, the rail bed from cabin 13 to Sewell was used as a road for park officials, campers, and fishermen who made the windy drive down to New River.
Over the years the town suffered a lot of damage from natural occurrences such as washouts, rockslides, and downed trees. Last year, the state was awarded a grant to rehabilitate the old road and turn it into a hiking trail to connect the state park with the national park.
Gov. Justice and other state officials took a trip down the new trail on UTVs to check out the work of WVDOH officials who repaired the four miles of new trail.
Along the way, the governor was shown a sign near a rushing waterfall that reads “Babydog Falls” which is near the halfway point of the trail. Officials renamed the waterfall that was once named “Flanagan Branch Falls,” a cascade that has been seldom seen for years in the Mann’s Creek Gorge.
The now “Babydog Falls” was once a stop for Shay and Climax steam locomotives along the Mann’s Creek Railway to fill up with water to finish their trip up to Clifftop and Landisburg.
The Mann’s Creek railway was in operation from 1886-1955 with the last run being a fan excursion. Royalty Smokeless Coal Company offered to donate the railway to the state in the 1950s as a tourist railroad, but the state turned down the offer.
One can check out the newly named “Babydog Falls” by accessing the trail from Babcock State Park.
To get to the trailhead, park at the Glade Creek Grist Mill and follow the road behind the mill down past the cabins until you see the Sewell Trail sign. After that, continue straight on the graveled path and you will officially be on your way to the New River Gorge. It is around six miles one way to Sewell.