‘It’s a must for Eastern Kentucky’: Pike County group working to expand adventure tourism

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 7:16 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Pike County Trails Authority is continuing its efforts to get the area’s ATV trails on the map.

Work began in 2017 when the county reinstituted its trails authority after the Kentucky Mountain Regional Recreation Authority was established. The county has since worked with property owners and potential businesses to expand and form its trails in preparation for a regional connection.

That effort is still on the table as a new resolution sits before the General Assembly, which would -among other things- allow local governments to authorize and regulate certain state-maintained roadways as ATV-approved.

According to Dist. 2 Commissioner and Authority Chair Jason Tackett, that would allow the county to alter the current law that says ATVs are only able to travel two-tenths of a mile on state roadways. He said this change would allow the county to connect its trails for a seamless travel flow.

“Just trying to hook together,” said Tackett. “We’ve not got everything worked out on this, but we will all sit down. We all are grownups and we all got the right intention for eastern Kentucky.”

The uninterrupted trails system, he said, would heighten the experience for ATV riders, serving as a gateway to other communities and a destination for adventure tourism.

“We have some people that is investing in Eastern Kentucky and Pike County,” Tackett said.

He said the trails in the area are already bringing people in, adding that businesses focused on lodging and ATVs are opening around the Mingo-Pike County line, based on the success of the Hatfield-McCoy trails in West Virginia. A trend he hopes to see continue.

Tackett said the system would be a win, not only for his home community but for the region as a whole. He said Eastern Kentucky has assets that are not being tapped into.

“It is a must for Eastern Kentucky for this bill to pass,” he said. “It’s out of our reach. It’s something the senators and the representatives are gonna have to work on in Frankfort.”

According to Tackett, the goal is to continue developing the 1,400 miles of trail inside of the county as they wait to find out the fate of the bill, deciding if they will be able to connect those with out-of-state trails as planned.

“It’s a big opportunity for everyone in the eastern region,” he said.

The Pike County Trails Authority meets on Wednesdays in the Pike County Fiscal Courtroom. Those meetings are open to anyone interested in being a part of the project or opening a business in one of the areas along the trail.

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