Sept. 4, 2012 — After 125 years as a college town, Morehead also wants to become a “trail town”.
An effort is underway by the Morehead Tourism Commission to have the city receive the official designation from the Kentucky Tourism Cabinet’s Office of Adventure Tourism.
“Taking a hike, riding a bike, going on a trail ride are all activities that will help us get healthy as individuals and as a community,” said Joy Brown, acting tourism director.
Those activities will bring in money, too, she said.
Towns that capture the economic benefits of the leisure adventure tourism market could earn $51 to $240 per night spent in the community, based on studies.
Morehead is among 30 communities that state and local officials hope to turn into gateways to trails and rivers in an effort to boost local tourism spending.
Gov. Steve Beshear visited earlier this month in Livingston, a small town in Rockcastle County, where a trail runs through the Daniel Boone National Forest.
"The Trail Towns program will become a major part of our adventure tourism effort and will help communities improve their tourism economy," Beshear said.
The state advises towns to develop links to nearby trails and rivers or to build new trails. If and when that occurs, the state will help promote the communities and their businesses.
“We are in the midst of the application process which is very detailed,” Brown said of Morehead’s effort. “We are gathering maps and identifying trails.”
State tourism officials began in 2011 to look at the towns along the Sheltowee Trace and Daniel Boone National Forest as potential sites of trail towns.
The program is modeled after successful trail towns along the Appalachian National Trail such as Damascus, Va. and Hot Springs, N.C.
The Sheltowee Trace Association (STA) is working with state tourism to encourage Morehead, Frenchburg, McKee, Livingston, London-Corbin and Stearns-Whitley City to participate in the state-developed Trail Town Assessment.
The STA is helping Morehead develop a plan to reroute Sheltowee Trail down Main Street.
The previous alignment of the trail was interrupted by excavation of the failed “big dig” project on Flemingsburg Road (KY 32).
Nicole Sturgill can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 784-4116.