Governor Pushes For Adventure Tourism In The Mountains

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

A big push from the governor for adventure tourism in the mountains.

He says it could create 1,500 jobs, bring 130,000 visitors, and 100 million dollars to the state.

Governor Fletcher says adventure tourism would do all that and more.

Adventure tourism can turn eastern Kentucky into an international tourist spot according to Governor Fletcher.

He and others believe if people know what's here, they will want to visit and spend money.

“Eastern Kentucky is a gem waiting to be discovered,” Governor Fletcher said.

Tourism directors say the waiting is over, Eastern Kentucky's outdoors are discovered.

“We've set on this gold mine for years, and didn't know what we had,” Preston McClain said.

Preston McClain knows the tourism potential first hand. He's seen the number of visitors to Harlan county ATV trails jump in the last three years.

The climbing numbers is what state tourism directors want to capitalize on.

An Appalachian Regional Study says Eastern Kentucky's trails, mountains, and waterways can attract more than a thousand tourists to 18 counties.

McClain says visitors spend 202 dollars a day in Harlan County.

The ARC study estimates more tourism will bring in at least one million dollars.

The more tourists, means more jobs for locals.

The governor presented a $323,000 ARC grant is getting the project started.

Part of the governor's plan is to expand state parks like Jenny Wiley.

Gubernatorial candidate Democrat Steve Beshear's campaign manager says he also supports adventure tourism and his own plan if he's elected.


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  • by Jon Location: Middlesboro, KY on Sep 13, 2007 at 08:28 AM
    cutter, i believe you are in the wrong friend. ATV clubs in eastern KY are helping keep the mountains clean. and yes, hikers litter too. and no, there is NO proof whatsoever that ATVs disturb wildlife. on our property i ride my ATV on...i ride right beside the same deer, turkey, and grouse that i have for years, and this is on a less than 100 acres. also how do ATVs destroy vegatation on trails? that doesn't even make sense. hikers do as much or more damage to vegatation by cutting down tree limbs and such on hiking paths. and most of the time you see a trail rutted out, it is due to rain and NOT atvs. you are providing people with your personal opinion and claiming it as fact which isnt right. most ATVers are responsible and love the mountains and land. so before you go stereotyping an entire group of people you may want to get your facts straight, friend.
  • by Becky Location: Shelbiana/Greasy Creek on Aug 30, 2007 at 02:39 PM
    The person from Harlan made a good point about this being an election time promise. All these candidates are making empty promises to get our votes. Do you really think that they care about the land in Kentucky? It is raped every day and is there any enforcement to put it back the way it was? Yes, when these candidates get their pockets lined by the mines. With that being said, Once again I emplore the Local and State Government and Beshare and Fletcher to CLEAN up the tourist attractions we have now. Why would people want to come and visit a new place if they see an existing place, such as Fishtrap Lake in the condition it is in. These candidates want you to hear new ideas about what they can bring to the table. Why don't they ask us what we need instead of tell us what they want us to have. People Speak Up ...... Write emails to these candidates and tell them they are just "Baiting the Hook" but can't fish in the Lake cause they have to clean it first.....
  • by cutter Location: South of East KY on Aug 30, 2007 at 07:44 AM
    Robert, you are so wrong. Every time an ATV enters the wilderness it causes damage. Vegetation is killed and trails are rutted out causing erosion and mud pits, exposing the terrain to invasive species. They endanger hikers and disrupt wildlife. ATV use on public lands is contrary to the motto: LEAVE NO TRACE, a nationally adopted principle of outdoor ethics. ATV use belongs on private property, not on public lands. Take only photographs and leave only foot prints.
  • by Jack Location: Pike County on Aug 30, 2007 at 06:13 AM
    Right on Becky! FishTrap looks like a garbage dump already. What the hell more could they add.
  • by anononymous Location: harlan on Aug 30, 2007 at 05:48 AM
    This is great BUT HOW COME IT COMES DURING ELECTION TIME?
  • by J Location: KY on Aug 29, 2007 at 10:38 AM
    I think the eastern part of ky could be fully developed for toursim...especially if the officals of Pikeville, Prestonsburg and Paintsville would work together to promote the Big Sandy area.........
  • by Jon Grace Location: Middlesboro, KY on Aug 29, 2007 at 09:52 AM
    This is GREAT news for everyone in Eastern KY. This is great news to all who have worked on the project for the past several years. When sKYward trails takes off it will be amazing. For more info you can check www.kyoutdoors.com - Jon Grace aka Bell County Outdoorsman
  • by Robert Location: Hartford KY on Aug 29, 2007 at 08:55 AM
    As Americans and adults, we need to have enough sense not to stereotype people. I know that one irresponsible atv rider makes 100 innocent ones look bad. There has never been a study proving the ludicrous allegations of atvs hurting the environment or causing errosion. Furthermore, the people that litter go far beyond the occasional irresponsible atv rider. Maybe we should outlaw automobiles, look at all the trash along the roadsides. Maybe we should outlaw fishing as well, I have saw far more trash at the local river dam than I ever did atv riding. Peop;e need to understand, it is not the atv's or the sport that is bad. It is just like any other activity. A few bad apples tend to spoil it for everyone. I have about 30 people I know and ride with. We are all honest church goers who work for a living to support our families. We wear helmets and we do NOT litter!
  • by cutter Location: South of East KY on Aug 29, 2007 at 06:58 AM
    ATV's destroy trails and the property around them. The litter associated with off-roading is tremendous. The pollution 4-wheelers bring into the woods impact the environment in ways that have never been studied. Gas and oil leaks, beer bottles, broken parts scattered around a rouge campsite, not to mention how dangerous it is. --->>IMHO, The future of wilderness adventure is hiking and backpacking, NOT ATV's.
  • by Billy Bob Location: Pike on Aug 29, 2007 at 05:51 AM
    Yea they want tourism,thats why they arrested 18 men[ATV riders} at Fish trap this last week.Go ahead enjoy your self and go to jail.We paid for it and lost all of our neighbors be cause of it.Now they arrest us for using it.The bear and coyotes are more welcome then the people.We need to flush the fed goverment and the so called state wild life managment area.Let the people ride thier ATVs there.Open up Fish Trap to all that want to use it=NOW=Get the gun toters off the peoples backs. They are more dangerous then the crooks.Then you might get some tourism.
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