Trail Town Board taking shape

By Kelsey Gerhardt kgerhardt@civitasmedia.com

February 5, 2014

Middlesboro Mayor Bill Kelley and Discover Downtown Middlesboro President Isaac Kremer formed a Trail Town Board which will lead Middlesboro toward becoming Trail Town certified within Kentucky.

The board consists of local business and community leaders, such as members from the tourism board and the fiscal court. Sub-committee chairmen include Bill Powell, Stephen Cambron, Becky Bowling, Stephen Sharp, Joe Brown and Jon Grace.

At their first meeting on Jan. 30, state Adventure Tourism Director Elaine Wilson reviewed the committee’s duties and provided certification on becoming a registered Trail Town.

The board’s goal is to expand and market the trails that run surrounding the city.

Linking the existing trails in Cumberland Gap National Park would also include the creation of new miles of trails as well as expanding the uses of existing trails, according to officials.

The board is currently working within its respective committees on the different aspects of the Trail Town project.

Trail areas are being explored using digital maps and by foot. Areas are being looked at within the Cumberland Gap National Park for ways to connect the parks trails into town, as well as expanding the trail system within the park in regards to both miles of new trails and new trail uses as well.

According to the Office for Adventure Tourism, the Trail Town designation “provides visitors with portals (trail towns) into resources (trail systems) that make visiting it a mutually beneficial experience.”

The board, in conjunction with Discover Downtown Middlesboro, recently completed a grant application which will allow them to have an economic and environmental impact study conducted regarding the Trail Town Process.

Kelsey Gerhardt may be reached at 606-302-9093 or on Twitter @kgerhardmbdn.