WKYT - Johnson - Headlines

Officials map out safety plan for new trail line

By: Whitney Burks
By: Whitney Burks

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A new line of trails is about to open to the public in Eastern Kentucky, and officials are hitting the path to figure out how they can keep people safe.

The first section of the Dawkins Trail Line in Johnson and Magoffin counties will open in June.

They broke ground on it last year and now it is almost ready.

The Dawkins Trail Line is part of the Kentucky Rails to Trails program, converting abandoned railroad tracks into public trails.

Once opened motor vehicles will not be allowed, but Johnson County officials kicked up some dust Wednesday for a special reason.

"We know if people come eventually there's going to be some accidents, and we're trying to put together a written safety plan to address the issue," said Gary McClure, Director of Johnson County Emergency Management.

They teamed up with Kentucky Park Rangers scoping out the piece of the 36 mile trail that runs through Johnson County.

"See where there may be some points that we need to look at in order to develop plans to any response for any instance which may occur along the trail," said Col. Joe West, Director of Kentucky Park Rangers.

One main focus was locating potential landing zones for air medical response, and they seemed to have success.

"We've got one designated landing zone up in that particular area now, but we did locate about four or five more," said McClure.

This type of trail system is new to many in the area, so officials say keeping the trail goers safe is their number one priority to ensure a little trail travel does not turn into tragedy.

"Also to look at the land owners who live along the trail to look at their safety," said West.

A ribbon cutting for the trail is scheduled for June 15.

The Dawkins Line is 36 miles through Johnson, Magoffin and Breathitt counties.

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