Dante is a small community in Russell County, Virginia. Although today its population does not exceed 1000, it was once a thriving community rich from the abundance of coal layered in the mountains, boasting a population of over 4000, and the headquarters of the Clinchfield Coal Corporation. As is typical of many Appalachian coal towns, Dante experienced a boom and bust scenario, with the extraction of resources and eventual exodus of the economic driver, the mining industry.
The Dante Lives On 501(c)3 Corporation was founded by residents in 2003 as a way to structure the community by providing central leadership. Their mission is “to improve the quality of life in the region by preserving, restoring, and promoting its cultural heritage while finding new ways to encourage growth and development in its communities.”
The Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC) was enlisted to aid Dante Lives On with design recommendations for a multi-use trail that will support the goals of the community organization. This assistance included conceptual trail master planning, experiential representation of the trail through sketches and perspectives, and identification of opportunities for regional trail connections.
Project team: Kim Steika, Kent Hipp, Cotter Spratley
Sponsor: Virginia Department of Forestry/Dante Lives On