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Ky. First Lady Hopes ‘Master Trail Plan’ Helps Connect Trails Statewide

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State officials on Tuesday unveiled the new ‘Cross Kentucky Master Trail Plan.’  The initiative aims to link all of the state’s recreational trails. Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear were at Lexington’s Issac Murphy Memorial Gardens for the announcement. 

Jane Beshear says the master trail plan is just the beginning. She says it’s difficult to say when the entire state will have a fully linked trail system.  “It just takes a long time because a lot of the trails end up going through private properties, so there’s a lot of negotiations," said Beshear. "A lot of understanding needs to take place about the fact that the liability issues; there’s been some concern about that.”

Beshear says some 12,000 miles of trails in the Commonwealth are already linked.  Beshear says another 17,000 miles of Kentucky trails could one day be included in the master trail plan.

There are currently nine Kentucky Trail Towns and more than 30 others are in the process of applying.  Jamestown and Manchester were added just this week.  Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart says an uptick in recreational activity can equate to new businesses.  “The more visitors that come, the more needs they bring with them,” said Stewart.  “The more needs they bring, the more that there is a demand that will cause entrepreneurs to try to meet that demand and become outfitters, sell kayaks, rent kayaks, fix bikes, sell bikes.”

Stewart says such a designation helps to brand or re-brand areas as destinations for adventure tourism activities. Those include hiking, biking, horseback riding, and kayaking.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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