Officials enthusiastic about W. Ky. trail proposal

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Associated Press

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — Officials in Western Kentucky are expressing enthusiasm about a proposal to build a trail for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding that would stretch from Henderson County to Breckinridge County.

The Messenger-Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1gmNbol) reports the proposal was discussed Monday at a forum hosted by Daviess Fiscal Court.

If built, it would begin in Audubon State Park in Henderson County and run through Daviess, Ohio and Grayson counties and end at Rough River Dam State Resort Park in Breckinridge County.

Daviess Judge-Executive Al Mattingly Jr. said such a trail would benefit all surrounding communities.

"Think about the economic impact it could have on the city of Whitesville and the city of Fordsville," he said.

Mattingly said so far it's just a concept. The trail hasn't been mapped it and no easements have been sought.

An old railroad bed that runs through the counties "gives us a general director of where to go," Mattingly said. If property owners along the trail refused to sell, then it would follow a different route.

"This is not about taking private property," he said, noting that even if the counties coordinate the project would take years to complete.

"Each county would work at their own pace," he said.

Elaine Wilson, director of Kentucky Adventure Tourism, said towns could benefit by catering to the needs of hikers and bicyclists that use the 80-mile trail.

"Long-distance trail people are going to need services," Wilson said. "They're going to need water, rest rooms and even a place to stay overnight."

Sandy Fitzgerald, who owns property in Daviess and Ohio counties where a portion of the old railroad bed lies, questioned whether there would be security along the trail and how it would be maintained.

"There's no thought in how they're going to maintain it," Fitzgerald said after the meeting. "I think (a trail) is a good idea closer to metro areas ... the question is, how do you take care of (maintenance) problems out in the boonies?"

Ohio County Judge-Executive David Johnston says he supports the idea.

"This is a project I'm very excited about," Johnston said.

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Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com

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