Floyd County blazes trails as first to sign lease with First Frontier Appalachian Trail System

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Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 7:21 PM EST
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - The First Frontier Appalachian Trail System is making connections, starting with the first link in Floyd County.

The Floyd County Fiscal Court signed a lease and license agreement with the trail system Wednesday, kicking off the first official link for a project that began in 2019 under the Kentucky Mountain Regional Recreation Authority.

“I’m just so excited because it’s going to create so much opportunity. For not only the folks that want to ride, but the businesses there,” said Floyd County Judge-Executive Robbie Williams.

Williams said the county worked hard to make the necessary moves, with a vision of helping the region blaze trails toward adventure tourism.

He said the process took a lot of work: finding funding from the Department for Local Government, with support by representative Ashley Tackett Lafferty; mapping the trail area, using county roads from the old road system to repurpose into the trails; and moving through any land owners issues.

“Creating a pod. This first pod. And it looks like Knott, Breathitt, Floyd and Magoffin County’s gonna be in the first pod, then we’re gonna have all the trails in between.”

Scott Smith, Executive Director of First Frontier Appalachian Trail System, said it is great to see the project moving forward and he hopes the first signing will lead to more in the days to come.

“That’s why I think this is gonna be very beneficial. I’ve already spoke with some other counties this morning that are ready to do the same thing,” said Smith. “It’s very important and we really feel that this will get the ball rolling to persuade other people to get on board. And that way we can just keep growing.”

Everyone involved says the trails will be a boost for economic development, using adventure tourism to help not only a few counties but the region as a whole.

“These county lines mean nothing. If we’re gonna move Eastern Kentucky forward, we have to do it as a region. And the best way to do that is projects like this, that it brings us together. We understand that we’re all gonna get a piece of the pie. It’s gonna help all of us locally.”

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