FRANKFORT – It’s a sure sign of spring. The 2014 Kentucky Official Highway Map is now available across the commonwealth at rest areas, welcome centers, local convention and tourism offices and all Kentucky State Parks.
As always, the new map contains a wealth of information for motorists. At the same time, its theme of Kentucky uniqueness – “There’s Only One” – highlights the beauty, natural attractions and hidden gems found only in Kentucky.
While sites such as Churchill Downs and Mammoth Cave draw visitors from around the world, the 2014 map also points out some of the state’s lesser known treasures.
For nature and wildlife lovers, Kentucky offers a host of attractions.
The Sloughs Wildlife Management Area near Henderson, in western Kentucky, is home to the largest Great Blue Heron rookery in the Commonwealth. Distinguished by its large cypress trees and swamps, the area attracts migrating birds like a magnet. And with observation platforms for wildlife viewing open year round, it’s perfect for a daytrip.
At Old Friends Retirement Home – the “old friends” being thoroughbred horses, visitors can get up close and personal with retired stars of racing such as Breeders Cup Champion Gulch, Eclipse-award winner Sunshine Forever and the “losingest” horse in the history of the Sport of Kings, Zippy Chippy. The farm is outside Georgetown, in central Kentucky.
Animals of the cold-blooded type more to your liking? The Kentucky Reptile Zoo, at Slade in eastern Kentucky, features an 18-foot python and a multitude of other types of snakes. While at Slade, visit the Turtle Tracks area, where tortoises and aquatic turtles can be seen.
If you’re looking for something less animal-oriented, Yew Dell Gardens, at Crestwood in northern Kentucky, is a Preservation Project of the Garden Conservancy. It also is on the National Register of Historic Places. With many tour options, Yew Dell is a favorite among garden enthusiasts.
The Blue Heron Mining Community, set along the banks of the Big South Fork River in southeastern Kentucky, offers visitors a look back in time when the area was home to the Blue Heron mines, which operated from 1937 to 1962. Once home to hundreds of people, the isolated community now is a National Park Site.
“The Official Kentucky Highway Map is certainly a great aid for planning a trip and finding your way, but it’s also much more,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “Our highway map is part of our effort to make a good first impression on the many thousands of people who will visit and travel our Commonwealth in 2014. Helping visitors discover our dazzling hidden gems is just one of the ways we hope to make a great impression.”
The highway map, published annually by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, is packed with information for the traveling public. The 2014 map reflects many system improvements, such as a completed U.S. 27 bypass around Cynthiana; an extension of the south Elizabethtown Bypass, KY 3005, that now connects to the Western Kentucky Parkway at a newly constructed interchange; a new alignment and bridge over the Tennessee River in Paducah that carries all U.S. 60 traffic; and a new section of a bypass that completes U.S. 27 around Albany.
Federally sanctioned bicycle routes are listed on the map along with symbols to indicate limited access parkways and divided highways.
Fifteen inset maps detail Lexington, downtown Lexington, the Louisville area, downtown Louisville, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Paducah, Elizabethtown-Radcliff, Northern Kentucky, Covington-Newport, downtown Frankfort, Richmond-Berea and Ashland.
The cover of the map features a horse and its rider taking a break near a Wranglers Campground trail in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, in far western Kentucky. The back of the map features information about Kentucky traffic laws, seat belt safety and the state’s “No DUI” app, available for free download.
A personal message from Gov. Beshear tells travelers about improvements underway in the Louisville area as a result of the Ohio River Bridges Project. The project includes new crossings in downtown Louisville and eastern Jefferson County, plus a drastically improved Kennedy Interchange, where Interstates 64, 65 and 71 meet in Louisville.
In addition, construction will soon start on two bridges in Western Kentucky across Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake – jewels of the tourism-rich Western Waterland Region.
“The cabinet takes pride in the quality of the Official Kentucky Highway Map,” Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said. “We believe it is an invaluable resource for all motorists but especially for visitors.”
“Some of the most beautiful scenery in America can be found along the highways and rural roads all across Kentucky,” Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Bob Stewart said. “The 2014 highway map is an essential travel tool for travelers to get them safely to their destinations and to inform them about the multitude of unique places they can visit along the way.”
The map features multiple legends identifying every type of street and highway, including bicycle routes and scenic byways. They also pinpoint Kentucky State Parks and Resort Parks, colleges and universities, airports and river ports, hospitals, welcome centers and rest areas, special points of interest and Kentucky State Police posts.
To view or download an electronic version of the Official State Highway Map, county maps or city maps, visit www.transportation.ky.gov/maps/pages/default.aspx.