Tourism in Bell County is changing quickly to give visitors more opportunities for animal watching, ATV riding and now, outdoor tourism. The Friends of Boone Trace group, or FOBT, is working to create a hiking trail which stretches from Lee County through Claiborne County up to Fort Boonesborough, near Richmond.
The group recently received the support of the National Park Service in the form of a Rivers Trails Conservation Assistance grant. This will provide assistance, not in the form of funding, but in the form of planning. Eventually, FOBT plans to work with the NPS to have it marked as a nationally recognized trail.
The RTCA designation will help inventory and map existing and proposed trail resources, develop partnerships, engage new stakeholders and identify funding sources that could transform the trail into something bigger.
Many months of work have been devoted to this designation and work will continue to further the trail’s recognition in each of the communities that the trail touches.
FOBT President Dr. John Fox was in Bell County last week to continue his work mapping the trail when he spotted the Cumberland Ford — a low spot in the Cumberland River where Daniel Boone and other trace travelers used to cross the waterway. This landmark is located in Pineville and is one of the many important historical spots along the trail.
Within the next few years, Fox and FOBT plan to have the entire trail — more than 140 trail miles or nearly 200 driving miles — designated with permanent trail markers for hikers, bicyclists and motorists that wish to follow in Daniel Boone’s footsteps.
Fox has filmed segments of video to be used in advertising opportunities for the trail, with assistance from Bell County Tourism director Jon Grace.
“This will give people the feel of the trail and how extensive it is. The goal is to have a video of all 5 counties to show how unique each of them is and how they all make up different parts of the trail,” said Fox.
Friends of Boone Trace is looking for members and volunteers for the organization. The public is invited to their next meeting which is set for Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Berea College Alumni Building Baird Meeting Room on the first floor.
For more information visit www.boonetrace1775.com.
Reach Kelsey Gerhardt at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardtmbdn.