First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear Announces Stearns as Newest Kentucky ‘Trail Town’

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, July 08, 2015  
Contact Information:  Parry Barrows

Stearns is the Commonwealth’s 6th site to receive ‘Trail Town’ recognition

STEARNS, KY. – First Lady Jane Beshear today recognized the community of Stearns as a Kentucky “Trail Town” –part of an effort to promote and develop adventure tourism destinations across the state. Stearns is only the sixth community in Kentucky to receive this elite tourism recognition.

“Now that Stearns is an official Trail Town, we look forward to a better future as the community seeks to diversify its economy through tourism development,” Mrs. Beshear said. “I congratulate the people of Stearns and McCreary County for their hard work and vision to make their community a prominent tourist destination.”

The Kentucky Trail Town Program is designed to help connect communities to trail systems and assist in developing them as tourist destinations. The Trail Town Program highlights a community’s authenticity through partnership and promotion of local restaurants, retail stores, lodging and artists. It creates an environment that is inviting to travelers, entrepreneurs and economic development.

The communities of Stearns and Whitley City serve the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the Daniel Boone National Forest. Through these two locations, Stearns can attract hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, paddlers, anglers and hunters. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park and the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail, the longest trail in Kentucky, are also nearby.

Stearns, a former coal and lumber town built by the Stearns Mining Company, has a rich and unique history. Several historic sites and the Big South Fork Scenic Railway serve the area today and help to strengthen their tourism appeal.

Joining the First Lady at the ceremony were Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Bob Stewart, Adventure Tourism Executive Director Elaine Wilson, Sen. Max Wise, Rep. Ken Upchurch and McCreary County Judge-Executive Douglas Stephens.

The work of the Kentucky Trail Town Program is carried out by a local Trail Town task force which includes numerous local organizations, officials, citizens, trail users, and both national parks superintendents. The task force is responsible for helping make sure the community receives certification as a Kentucky Trail Town.

“Congratulations to the Stearns Trail Town Task Force and McCreary County citizens for their years of hard work to get to this moment,” Wilson said. “They have developed a wonderful vision to celebrate who they are and provided access to the natural landscapes that frame their character.”

More than 40 communities are currently working to become certified Trail Towns. They cater to a number of parks, forests and rivers all over Kentucky. Stearns was preceded by Dawson Springs, Livingston, Morehead, Olive Hill and London in receiving the recognition. 

The Office of Adventure Tourism will provides guidance to prospective Trail Towns on issues such as trail development, signage, funding sources, resource lists and partner agencies who have partnered in the Kentucky Trail Town Program.

Once a community has been certified as a Kentucky Trail Town, the Office of Adventure Tourism and the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet will market these communities and the services they offer. They will receive assistance in acquiring highway signage, prominent placement on websites and promotional materials and maps.

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