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November 21, 2007

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This isn't a new development

Great news! One thing to keep in mind:

Adventure Tourism requires entrepreneurs. As someone on the front lines of economic development in EKY is realize that many of our potential biz owners need a shot in the arm to maximize this opportunity. Ky should continue to support, via it's Universities, entrepreneurship. We have to train potential biz owners in areas such as marketing, finances, operations, etc.

We should also work to facilitate low interest loans for these entrepreneurs. Access to capital is a huge detriment to biz owners in the region.

If we train people in the fundamentals of biz ownership and arm them with the money they need to get started they'll create opportunities that we never dreamed of.

Wonder how the property owners adjacent to those ATV trails feel about this?

There is a proposal to convert an abandoned railroad line that runs from Johnson County through Magoffin and into the remote eastern tip of Breathitt into a trail through one of those "rails to trails" programs. (If you've ever driven Route 114 from Salyersville to Prestonsburg, you pass under the underpass for this old railroad just before you cross into Floyd County from Magoffin). This has been done in a lot of other states and in other places in Kentucky. However, property owners adjacent to the old railroad are objecting even though there would be no ATVs on the trail.

Personally, I'd rather have a few hikers or bikers traversing a trail instead of a bunch of noisy ATVs, but the people are making outlandish claims like a "rails-to-trails" trail would attract pedophiles and their kids wouldn't be safe.

Magoffin County has one of the most high chronic UE rates in the state. This could do nothing but help the local economy. Sometimes our own worst enemy is ourselves.

Anony:

Sadly, many people w/in these communities don't want things to change. They've made their buck, they've got their retirement, why see something new that'll potentially disrupt their way of life?

IN Wolfe County you have a related problem. Whenever you have a new idea it's usually pushed by a group of folks who came to live in Wolfe County from elsewhere b/c of the gorge. They're labeled "hippies" and any idea they have is automatically viewed as pie in the sky.

We just have to work harder to build that critical mass in our communities necessary for change.

You change the perception by performing an end around the public via politics. This happened in Harlan. Judge Greishop was born in Ohio and lived most of his adult life outside Harlan. He had a radical vision of converting a stripmine into a park and walla! We have a park and a new industry that might make the Commonwealth a few bucks.

Harlan is of course the exception not the rule If you want to change things, you change it from within the system. Get involved in a local race or run for an office. If you are successful, you will either be shot or embraced.

Those who don't believe that a "rails to trails" system can't be a tourism success need to head up to Athens, Meigs and Gallia County Ohio.

Several years ago they converted numerous old rail beds into paved trails for walking and biking, which other unpaved trails for horses and now ATV in areas outside populated areas.

We in northeastern Kentucky have worked for years to get the old Ashland-to-Lexington L&N line going, but we just aren't getting the support from local and state government that the trails in southeastern Ohio got a few years ago.

With other states like West Virginia getting their own trail system going, like the Hatfield-McCoy trail in Logan, Mingo and McDowell County, if we don't get our own adventure tourism attractions going soon, we'll be a follower instead of a leader like we've been in everything else.

Dr. Dan has this one right. The first place to put money for attaching tourist, is for the state to invest in a modern white water park at Elkorn City. It has a following now at certain times of the year. But to have a real impact it needs to be upgraded.

It could also be used to train EMS employees about swift water rescue. We seen a what happens with it rains too much.

A good size lake in the 25,000 acre range would also be a good idea, but . . . .
that is probably too much to consider.

If you want to talk about it Dr. Dan, I have the demographics for you.

Dr. Dan and the Tourism people could learn a lot about it, with trip to North Carolina.

White water rafting is a money sport and brings in adventure seekers from across the USA.


Extreme parks in Eastern Kentucky could be a winner, but the state needs to help develop infrastructure. Just as it is absurd to push consumer agriculture without supporting farmers' markets and education enabling entrepreneurship, tourism needs the same type of support. In the old days we used to talk of smart money and otherwise, but really what we were talking about was those with an instinct or training for entrepreneurship and those lacking those skills who invested their money in another second line burger franchise and watched everything go belly up.

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