The McCreary County Record

Local News

March 29, 2012

County seeks public input for ATV grant

WINFIELD —  McCreary County officials are preparing a new grant application for ATV trails and need community input on the proposed project.

A public hearing as been scheduled for this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the McCreary County Tourism Office on Geary Street in downtown Whitley City.

According to McCreary County Judge-Executive Andrew Powell, the county is seeking approximately $100,000 from the Kentucky Recreational Trails Program (RTP) in order to construct new trails for off-road vehicles in southeastern McCreary County.

For several years, the county has authorized ATV use on certain public roads. Working with the McCreary County ATV/OHV Club, officials sought grant funding to maintain the trails and designate more.

Last year, another $100,000 RTP grant had been tentatively approved to rehabilitate five public roads — Mouth of Indian, Thunderstruck, Mulberry, Williams Siding and Little Rock Creek — when county officials learned that the state funds could be used only for trails that were solely designated as ATV trails.

With automobiles sometimes using the existing “multi-purpose” trails and not enough time to alter the application, county officials turned down last year’s grant and focused on finding an area where a new off-road system could be constructed.

Using Little Rock Creek Road as a corridor, county officials have made tentative contact with private landowners although no easements will be required unless the grant is approved.

The plan initially is to start small. If approved, the first grant would fund mapping, signage, waste containers and maintenance for up to 25 miles of earthen trails. The trails would measure eight feet wide and feature three primitive trailheads.

“Folks are riding on these properties anyway,” McCreary County Deputy Judge-Executive Andrew Powell told The Record. “It’s not only illegal but unsafe. If we can get this project off the ground, hopefully more landowners will sign on. This could turn into that 100-mile system leading in to Tennessee and Whitley County trails.”

Powell added that such a system would not only benefit locals but also prove marketable for tourism. Visitors, he noted, want to ride “out in the woods” but restrictions on federal lands have been a major stumbling block for off-road enthusiasts.

In a separate project, the U.S. Forest Service is conducting a feasibility study regarding ATV use at Barren Fork with field work set to begin in mid-April.

For more information on the RTP application, call the Office of McCreary County Judge-Executive at 376-2413.

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