First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear Announces Olive Hill as Next Kentucky ‘Trail Town’

Press Release Date:  Monday, November 17, 2014  
Contact Information:  Parry Barrows

OLIVE HILL, Ky. – First Lady Jane Beshear today honored the community of Olive Hill as the latest Kentucky “Trail Town” -- part of the effort to promote and develop adventure tourism destinations across the state.

“I applaud the leaders in Olive Hill for their efforts to develop their community into an adventure tourism destination,” Mrs. Beshear said. “The Trail Town program provides an excellent road map for communities seeking to diversify their economy by developing their tourism industry.”

The Kentucky Trail Town Program is designed to help connect communities to trail systems and assist in developing them as tourist destinations. Trail Town signage will guide travelers to trails, food, lodging, campgrounds, museums, entertainment and other services. The designation will help communities improve their tourism economy, add more jobs and create more tourism opportunities for the entire state.

Mrs. Beshear noted Olive Hill’s proximity to Carter Caves State Resort Park and its trail system for hiking and horseback riding. “By connecting horse trails to existing state park trails, the community has become a desired horseback riding destination and boosted its appeal to a broader demographic of travelers,” said Mrs. Beshear.

As part of its work on the Trail Town certification, Olive Hill has created an annual horseback riding event, converted a railroad depot into a trailhead, created a primitive campground and developed three local trails, including an 8.3-mile trail that connects the town to Carter Caves State Resort Park. A 10-mile trail circles the city lake and can be used for hiking, cycling and horseback riding.

Olive Hill is also home to Tygarts Creek, which runs through the town and provides paddling and fishing opportunities for tourists.

Joining the First Lady for the announcement were Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Bob Stewart, Adventure Tourism Director Elaine Wilson, Parks Commissioner Elaine Walker, Sen. Robin Webb, Rep. Jill York, Carter County Judge-Executive Charles Wallace and Olive Hill Mayor Kenny Fankell.

“As a tourism destination, Olive Hill will have the opportunity to develop its economic base, tourism industry and recreational activities,” said Sen. Robin Webb. “I was honored to be a part of the Trail Town Task Force that worked to make this project happen. I would like to say a special thanks to Deborah Harmon as well as applaud all the members of the task force and the other community leaders who were instrumental in making it possible for Olive Hill to be one of the first communities to embrace this adventure tourism opportunity. I appreciate the First Lady for all her work in adventure tourism.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of the citizens who served on the Olive Hill Trail Town Task Force who made this certification possible,” said Rep. Jill York. “We look forward to Trail Towns opening up new doorways to economic development and tourism in the hearts of our communities.”

More than 40 communities have started the application process to become a Trail Town and are working with the Office of Adventure Tourism in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. Olive Hill, which officially became a Trail Town on Sept. 12, joins Morehead, Livingston and Dawson Springs as official Kentucky Trail Towns.

The Office of Adventure Tourism will provide guidance to interested communities on issues such as trail development and signage, information and resources from other state agencies and how other communities have been successful by linking trails and services.

Once a community receives the Trail Town certification, the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Department of Travel and Tourism and Office of Adventure Tourism will help promote and market these communities and the services being offered. They will be highlighted on maps, websites, visitors’ guides and other state promotional material.

For more information about Trail Towns and adventure tourism in Kentucky, visit