ELKHORN CITY – First Lady Jane Beshear announced that the community of Elkhorn City is now a Kentucky “Trail Town,” and is part of the effort to promote and develop adventure tourism opportunities across the state on Thursday.
“Congratulations to the leaders and residents of Elkhorn City for their efforts to become a Kentucky Trail Town,” Mrs. Beshear said. “Becoming a certified Trail Town literally puts Elkhorn City on the map as a must-visit destination, and it is a big opportunity for the community to boost local tourism and economic development.”
The Kentucky Trail Town Program is designed to help connect communities to trail systems and help develop them as tourist destinations. It will guide travelers to trails, food, lodging, campgrounds, museums, entertainment and other services. The designation will help communities improve their tourism economy, add more jobs and create more tourism opportunities for the entire state.
More than 30 communities have started the application process to become a Trail Town and are working with the Office of Adventure Tourism in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
Elkhorn City is the seventh Trail Town to be certified and joins Dawson Springs, Livingston, Morehead, Olive Hill, London and Stearns as official Kentucky Trail Towns.
Mrs. Beshear noted some of the assets that Elkhorn City has as part of its plan in developing a Trail Town. They include the Russell Fork River, which is popular for whitewater paddling; the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail, which stretches along the mountains for 120 miles; and Breaks Interstate Park, one of just two U.S. interstate parks that is located in Kentucky and Virginia. Elkhorn City is also along the TransAmerica Trail, a cycling route that stretches across the U.S.
Two events in October will call attention to the outdoor adventure opportunities in Elkhorn City – the Cloudsplitter 100 trail race and the Lord of the Fork paddling event on the Russell Fork. Both are part of the Kentucky Outdoor Adventure Games.
Joining the First Lady for the announcement were Tourism, Arts and Heritage Deputy Secretary Matt Sawyers; Office of Adventure Tourism representative Seth Wheat; former First Lady and Pike County Tourism Board Chair Judi Patton; Sen. Ray Jones, of Pikeville; Elkhorn City Mayor Mike Taylor and Pike County Judge-Executive Bill Deskins.
The Office of Adventure Tourism will provide guidance to interested communities on issues such as trail development and signage, information and resources from other state agencies and how other communities have been successful by linking trails and services.
Once a community receives the Trail Town certification, the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Department of Travel and Tourism and Office of Adventure Tourism will help promote and market these communities and the services being offered. They will be highlighted on maps, websites, visitors’ guides and other state promotional material.
For more information about Trail Towns and adventure tourism in Kentucky, visit www.kentuckytourism.com