Joe P. Asher
The city of Evarts is on track to become the first Trail Town in the state of Kentucky.
During a meeting at Evarts City Hall on Tuesday, city officials, representatives from the Harlan County Outdoor Recreation Board and interested citizens witnessed a presentation from the Executive Director of Adventure Tourism for the state of Kentucky, Elaine Wilson. The purpose of the presentation was to supply information on becoming a Kentucky Trail Town.
According to Wilson, one of the benefits of becoming a Trail Town is the economic impact of such a designation.
“We want to move people outdoors,” said Wilson. “We want to get the communities that are around these resources…to benefit economically. The state wants to be able to promote communities that are gateways into those areas where all kinds of activities can take place. Because it brings a lot of money into your community.”
Wilson pointed out the process of Trail Town certification “is basically two steps. One is an assessment of your trial, two is an assessment of your town.”
According to information supplied by Kentucky Adventure Tourism, in order to become a Trail Town a city must be in “close proximity to a national or state park, forest or recreational areas and near trail systems including water trails.”
Other criteria for becoming a Trail Town includes showing an integration of historical, agricultural and historical elements, as well as showing an intent to be part of the Cross Kentucky Trail system.
There is one hurdle Evarts must overcome. An approximate one mile section of KY 2430 connects the city to the ATV park. Several of those in attendance pointed out there is legal issue with riding ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) on a state maintained road.
Although it is legal to ride ATVs on city roads in Evarts, Mayor Eddie Manning explained the city cannot afford to annex KY 2430 due to maintenance costs.
Wilson explained she is confident this will not halt the Trail Town designation.
“I believe if the community and the landowners can work together with the state and the city and get another trail or another route in, they’ll find it (a solution),” said Wilson. “I think it will be resolved.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or jasher@heartland publications.com