Department of Tourism
State Parks Observe National Tourism Week

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 17, 2007  
Contact Information:  Gil Lawson

OLIVE HILL, Ky. – Coy Ainsley plans to spend part of National Tourism Week convincing people to crawl around in the dark on their stomach.

Ainsley, the naturalist at Carter Caves State Resort Park, will be at the Grayson Welcome Center along Interstate 64 on Saturday, May 19, to provide information about his park. Carter Caves, one of 53 state parks, provides a unique experience for visitors – cave tours.

Two of the park’s caves will open May 26 for the summer – Bat Cave and Saltpetre Cave. Bat Cave is still “wild” – it has no lights or handrails and guests bring their own flashlight for tours. Saltpetre Cave is a historic cave that was used 200 years ago for mining saltpetre, an ingredient used to make gunpowder for the War of 1812.

“A lot of people are interested in Bat Cave,” Ainsley said. “It’s more of a feat to get through – it’s not for everybody.”

Various types of tours led by guides are offered. Some are basic walking tours while others require crawling and do not include any electric lights. Two other caves – X-Cave and Cascade Cave – are open year-round at Carter Caves, one of 17 resort parks in the Kentucky State Park system. Resort parks have lodges and cabins for overnight accommodations.

For information about cave tours, times and fees, visit or call the park at 1-800-325-0059. In addition to the lodge and cabins, Carter Caves State Resort Park near Olive Hill also has a restaurant, campground, a 9-hole golf course, horseback riding, fishing, swimming, hiking trails and other recreational programs.

Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional kickoff for state park summer programs, which include nature and other recreational activities.

Several state parks are holding events or presenting displays at welcome centers this week as part of National Tourism Week to recognize tourism’s tremendous economic, social, and cultural impact in Kentucky.

Representatives of Rough River Dam State Resort Park will be at the Northbound I-65 Munfordville rest area on Friday, May 18, and at the Bullitt County Welcome Center along southbound I-65 near Shepherdsville on Saturday, May 19.

To celebrate National Tourism Week, the Butler-Turpin State Historic House located at General Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton will feature a special tour through May 20 entitled "Life at Two Rivers." Tour Times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are 9, 10, 11 a.m. and 1, 2, 3, 4 p.m.; Sunday 1, 2, 3, 4 p.m. Tours begin on the hour. Admission: $3.50 adult, $2.50 children (6-12), under age six free.

For more information about Kentucky State Parks, visit

Tourism spending in Kentucky in 2006 crossed the $10 billion mark for the first time, according to statistics compiled by the Travel Industry Association (TIA). That growth represents a 6.6 percent increase over 2005. The new report also shows 176,800 Kentuckians employed due to tourism, earning more than $3.36 billion in payroll income and paying more than $987 million in federal, state and local taxes