Trail proposed to connect downtown Middlesboro to Cumberland Gap NPS

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WYMT) - The group Discover Downtown Middlesboro and National Park Service officials want to build a trail system connecting the city and the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

They hope it will bring more visitors and boost the economy.

Officials with Discover Downtown Middlesboro want to make it easier to get from the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park to downtown Middlesboro.

"The trail system has a great quality of life amenity," said Isaac Kremer, Executive Director of Discover Downtown Middlesboro.

The proposed trail could be used for walking or biking to go from downtown to the park hiking trails or go from the park to shops and restaurants in Middlesboro.

"What an incredible opportunity!" said Carol Borneman, Supervisory Park Ranger at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.

Organizers hope connecting the park to downtown Middlesboro will provide a boost to the local economy.

"The pull is it brings the 865,000 people who visit the park each year into our town to support our shops and create jobs and help generate revenue for the local economy," said Kremer.

A National Park Service official will work with Discover Downtown Middlesboro to draw up the plans. They plan to start working in January.

"It takes all of us working together and working together is really being showcased right now. Again, what a cool opportunity," said Borneman.

They have applied for a half million dollar grant to help fund it.

"We hope by making Middlesboro a destination that that's really going to speed up the process of getting all these trail systems connecting here," said Kremer.

They hope to start building it next year.

Organizers say a long range goal is to connect the trail system to other trails that connect to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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