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Bill would create ATV trails in Eastern Kentucky

State Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps

State Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps

FRANKFORT — A bill that would lead to a system of ATV trails in Eastern Kentucky was approved by a House committee Thursday.

House Bill 173, sponsored by Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, would connect to similar trail systems in West Virginia and south-western Virginia.

Hall said the trails could attract as many as 200,000 people a year to the region. That would spur spending at hotels, restaurants and gas stations in an economically depressed area.

“We think this is the right thing to do for tourism … in these dead and dying counties,” Hall said.

The bill would create a Kentucky Mountain Trail Corporation to oversee and police the system.

Hall said he had the cooperation of 13 counties: Bell, Breathitt, Floyd, Harlan, Johnson, Knott, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Mogan, Perry, Pike and Wolfe. He said he would try to add Clay and Leslie counties in a floor amendment later.

Most of the trails would be on old strip-mine land and other land that belongs to large landowners, Hall said. The trails could be more than 2,000 miles long, said Bill Reed, a trail expert that Hall brought to the committee hearing.

The system would be similar to the Hatfield-McCoy trails in West Virginia and the Spearhead Trails in Virginia.

The House Committee on Tourism Development and Energy approved the bill unanimously. Several members, however, said they wanted technical changes to be made later.

State Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, thanked Hall for his “vision,” but said she wanted to make sure the trails corporation was covered by state open meetings and records laws.

Because the people working for the trails corporation would be state employees, the bill will have to go to the Appropriations and Revenue Committee before it goes to the House floor for a vote.

The bill the tourism committee approved was very different from the bill Hall originally filed. That bill would have elevated the Kentucky Recreational Trails Authority to the level of a state agency, and given it power to require that people buy a permit before hiking or riding on state lands.

Hall said he changed the bill because the original would have cost several million dollars in tough economic times.

Filed Under: Keith HallKY General Assembly

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Comments

  1. La_Jolla says:

    A bill like this would be disastrous to the eco-systems of the region. ATV’s are more destructive than horses and most vehicles.
    People are going to have to find other ways of recreation.
    The state has to control this region and maintain its natural beauty. These areas cannot be allowed to be destroyed by these idiots.

  2. Gina says:

    People are going to ride ATV’s regardless to the bill. The bill would just regulate and help control the riding, to make it safer for the environment and the people riding.
    Also, La_Jolla, I am not an idiot and the people that I ride with are not idiots. We do care for the environment and do not plan to destroy it!

  3. CHINGO says:

    who is going to build the trails (where they do not already exist) and who will PAY for them? How about the ATV riders volunteer to build and maintain the system, AND minimize the environmental impact? I know, I know, it is unlikely, but perhaps if there is such a coalition, we all will be better off

  4. TripleB says:

    I am an Eastern Kentucky native who lives in Lexington now. I am offended by the comment of La_Jolla. Apparently this person has never been to Eastern Kentucky and doesn’t know anyone who rides. To stereo-type everyone who rides as idiots is a very narrow-minded. I have rode with as many as 100 people on a single trip. We do nothing to the eco-system and we spend our money at the local businesses. To describe us as idiots is wreckless and you should be ashamed.

  5. henry says:

    I am from S.E.KY. I think itis a great idea. I go to TN and ride at Royal Blue. They have thousands of miles to ride. You purchase a license. This generates income to pay for trails also the taxes local towns would collect. Why no include Whitley, Whayne and McCreary and laurel with the old logging trails already there in the Daniel Boone Forest.

  6. La_Jolla says:

    triple B and Gina, sounds like you are in agreement about my comment. I stand by it.
    Further, in a few years, get ready for something else. Your reckless behavior will cost you more, because as we move into a single payer healthcare system, the people will begin to demand that those who knowingly engage in a lifestyle that is much more dangerous than a normal one, will be penalized accordingly to balance out the risk.
    So, go on, destroy our beautiful countryside with your machines, but you will pay for it in the end, I promise!!

  7. KYtruthiness says:

    I’ve got mixed feelings about this- one one hand, this is a popular activity with a large economic impact on a distressed region of our state, however, and I’m not implying that any ATV rider pollutes with any malicious intent, BUT, these vehicles do leave behind erosion problems, oil/fuel leakage, etc.

    I don’t believe all ATV riders are idiots, but they can do idiotic things sometimes (not wear helmets, speeding), like us all. There would have to be a major effort to curb the impact of the vehicles while actually caring for the integrity of the environment.

  8. dIehardblue says:

    Talk about idiots! It’s those tree huggers in KY who think everything done in Eastern Kentucky is an environmental issue. If those idiots really want to know the effect ATV Trails have not only economically, but also environmentally, they should seek information from those states who already have the trails. Southern WV have thousands of miles supervised by their board, have only certain access stations and patrolled by some type of rangers. I have never read any negative comments in any of the papers in that area complaining about the trail. There is no more damage done there to the environment than all the excessive building of roads and filling of streams done around the cities of Lexington and Louisville. But that is called necessary progress for their economies. Enjoy life! Enjoy Nature! Ride and ATV!

  9. bHilton says:

    I do not consider myself an idoit and I have been riding dirt bikes & ATV’s since I got back from Viet Nam in the early ’70. I was one of the first rider to start riding at Turkey Creek in the Land Between the Lakes in W. Ky. That area is still going and hasn’t ruined anything. This sounds like a great idea for E. KY and I hope it works. That area needs all the help it can get, Hey, maybe our Prez will send some stimulus money,

  10. bHilton says:

    I went back and read the comment from La_jolla and I guess this person has a boat and goes out in theirboat and rides/skis, drops trash over the side, boat leaks oil/gas in the water but they are taking care of our water and land, they think. They also wouldn’t know the front from the back of an ATV.People need to research something B-4 they say it is bad

  11. Alvin Davenport says:

    I don’t see how riding ATV’s on old strip mine roads is going to create any significant additional damage. These roads are already there and the real damage was done long ago in many instances. We may as well take advantage of the opportunities created by the mining. Everyone wants to criticize Eastern Kentucky as having no industry and trying to rely strictly on mining for employment, then when someone has an idea that may bring some additonal jobs and funds, they want to criticize that as well. How about some positive suggestions instead?

  12. Jancie says:

    It doesn’t matter if there’s a bill for this or not. My whole family rides dirk bikes and we ride in Floyd Co now in the old strip mines and there are alot of other people that do it too. We stay on the trails and we don’t get off of them. We use to ride down at Livingston KY until the Govt made it to where you had to have a licensed vehicle and insurance, but those people down there were crazy because they were either driniking or smoking something when they rode down there and I saw alot of people get hurt. Livingston was the place to ride back in the 90′s and it was alot of fun every weekend.

  13. Jancie says:

    I just now read what La_Jolla wrote and they are the stupid one on here. You do not know what you are talking about. My husband and I just got back from a trip out West and we took our dirt bikes and rode on trails in NW, AZ, UT, CA and CO. They all have plenty of places for people to ride and we met alot of nice people while doing it. It does not hurt the environment. We did have to get a permit in NW but it was very easy and they told us where we were able to ride at. We do not have insurance on our bikes nor are they licensed.

  14. Kelsey says:

    Run Richie Run

  15. Terry says:

    Off-highway vehicle use is an economic shot in the arm for the counties in West Virginia who participate. I try to ride there at lease 20 days a year. I know a number of vendors who make a living supplying me and other riders with food, lodging, and other filling other needs. All that aside – riding is great fun for my family and I. The trail system is run by PROFESSIONALS. They know how to create and maintain trails in such a manner as to minimize any environmental impact.

    La_Jolla has no valid arguments to present. If he/she they did, they would have presented them in a rational manner instead of simply launching personal attacks on people who ride. Normally, however, such personal attacks are launched AFTER civil discourse/dialog proves their views and conclusions to be bankrupt.

  16. IdiotDirtBiker says:

    LaJolla, you can’t truly love nature sitting in your apartment in the burb’s, snuggled up to your cats a, blogging snide comments about people who you don’t even know! As an idiot rider I agree there are people who ride that could be much better stewards of the outdoors. However, think of the tax dollars we idiots generate and how your socialist buddies can appropriate those funds for studying stuff like methane emissions from cow manure.

  17. Thurman says:

    Does Hall still want the federal government to buy property in Pike County? This guy is a joke. If you want these dead and dying counties to have tourism. stop mountaintop removal mining and mine coal with men not machines underground. Then you have more jobs and more taxes and more tourism.