A local task force has been formed to see the construction of a proposed bike trail through Grayson County come to fruition.
The proposed Kentucky Caves Trail would be 70 miles of multi-use trails from Louisville through Breckinridge County to Rough River and Barren County for bikers, walkers, and horseback riders, and about 35 miles of the trail would be inside Grayson County, according to Grayson County Tourism Executive Director Anya Turpin.
Turpin said she first learned about the Kentucky Caves Trail initiative while attending a health fair in Elizabethtown, at which the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association (KyMBA) was a vendor.
Following the health fair, KyMBA e-mailed Turpin information about the organization, including a map detailing the proposed Kentucky Caves Trail.
Turpin said she believes the creation of such a trail would open Grayson County up to a multitude of opportunities for festivals, long-distance events, and entrepreneurial opportunities, resulting in a major economic and tourism impact.
The Grayson County portion of the trail would extend through Leitchfield, and a connector trail at Rough River would allow bikers to travel toward either Louisville or Owensboro, Turpin said.
While the project is being assisted by the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association, Turpin assured that the proposed trail would be suitable for anyone, regardless of skill or fitness level; however, the goal would be to have more rugged terrain trails sprout from the main trail.
“It will be something that every single person…will get something out of it,” said Turpin.
To ensure the project’s success, Turpin has formed a task force to establish what portions of the trails to start with and promote community involvement.
The first meeting of the Trail Town Task Force was held on Wednesday, Dec. 7 and was attended by representatives from numerous community businesses and organizations, including Leitchfield and Grayson County Tourism, the Grayson County Chamber of Commerce, Leitchfield/Grayson County Industrial Development, Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, KyMBA, and the City of Leitchfield, among others.
Additionally, the task force is seeking to help Leitchfield garner the recognition of being a Kentucky Trail Town, which is a designation from Kentucky Tourism that, if received, grants special funding and signage to promote local bike trails, as well as promotions in state tourism brochures and websites, thus boosting local tourism.
In order to receive this recognition, applying cities must have a trail; a community “that exudes Kentucky Proud;” and adequate lodging and restaurants.
But most of all, Turpin said, “We just need the community support.”
Youth involvement, she said, is especially important in order to receive funding and support at the state level.
Additionally, when the time comes to build the trails, volunteers will be needed to help with the work.
“This will be a community built trail system,” Turpin said.
The next Trail Town Task Force meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017 at 9 a.m. at the Centre on Main (425 South Main St., Leitchfield). The meeting is free and open to the public. Those who attend are not required to serve on the task force.
For more information, contact Turpin at 270-259-2735 or e-mail [email protected]
To contribute to KyMBA, or learn more about it, visit www.kymba-lt.org.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.