Copperhead Trail project discussed at chamber luncheon
People, who ride expensive motorcycles and like to take weekend trips to ride motorcycle trails, frequently have a lot of discretionary income.
Whitley County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. told members of the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Tuesday afternoon during its monthly membership luncheon in Williamsburg that he would like for them to spend some of that money here in Whitley County.
“The people, who can spend $50,000 on a motorcycle, can spend money in your restaurants. They can spend money at your motels. They can spend money at your water park. They can spend money at Cumberland Falls State Park. They are the kind of people you want to come to town because they have discretionary money to put back into the community,” White said.
In order to attract some of those tourism dollars, White and his staff have been working for the past two years to establish the Copperhead Trail motorcycle route, which runs through Whitley and McCreary counties.
White said the idea for the Copperhead Trail motorcycle trail started because a couple of his employees, Jeff Gray and Leanell Foley, liked to travel to Tennessee to ride motorcycle trails there that had been advertised.
“I would tell Jeff and Leanell that there are just as good a roads right here as what you are all traveling and spending your money in Tennessee to see,” White said. “One particular trail there brings 400,000 travelers a year to go over that one motorcycle trail and they have probably a dozen of them that they promote.”
White said that after realizing how much financial tourism dollars this puts into communities, he, Gray and Foley set out to map a motorcycle trail in Whitley County for that purpose.
Out of that idea came the Copperhead Trail, a 60-mile route with a little over 300 turns that runs through Whitley and McCreary counties.
It took a couple of years to get a bill passed by the Kentucky General Assembly to name the route, Copperhead Trail, but the law doing so went into effect on June 29.
Now Whitley County and McCreary County leaders are planning a free inaugural motorcycle ride on Aug. 12 to promote the new trail.
They are expecting between 50 and 300 riders.
Each rider will get a free t-shirt and there will be hats, pins, and patches for sale at various sponsoring locations.
So far a little over $4,800 has been raised to promote the event, Gray noted.
During the Tuesday’s membership luncheon, Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bruce Carpenter presented the fiscal court with a $500 donation for the Copperhead Trail Ride.
Officials showed a three-minute video of the ride during Tuesday’s luncheon, but a longer version of the video and more information about Copperhead Trail and the Aug. 12 ride can be found on the fiscal court’s website, www.whitleycountyfiscalcourt.com.
During the luncheon, White also promoted the Kayaking for Kids river race that will take place Aug. 19 on the Cumberland River.
Enthusiasts of kayaks, jon boats and tubing will be able to participate.
White said the race will raise money for the Upward Bound basketball programs in Corbin and
Williamsburg, and remaining funds would be split among local family resource centers to buy needed items for local school children.
White said the race is kind of an offshoot of an effort the county has been making to create river point access sites along the Cumberland River for kayaks, canoes, jon boats and other small river craft.
There are already two in operation. One is located near the intersection of Ky. 92E and Ky. 904. The other is located at Ballard Ford East.
Construction will start soon on one for Croley Bend.
The idea is to break up the Cumberland River into three to five mile segments that will make it easier for people to kayak, canoe or fish.
“It is just going to be a day to enjoy our natural assets here in the county,” White said of the kayak race. “We have been working hard to make those more accessible to people through those river access points, and to raise money for a really good cause.”
For more information about Copperhead Trail or Kayaking for Kids, contact White’s office at (606) 549-6000.
Tuesday’s luncheon was sponsored by FCi Federal, which operates the Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg.
FCi Federal operates in more than 40 states and territories, and delivers essential operations management and professional services to federal government agencies.
Adam Bryant, assistant operations manager at FCi‘s Williamsburg facility, noted that about 300 people work at the local facility.
FCi was recently acquired by PAE, which employees about 15,000 people. The acquisition of FCi will increase the number of employees to about 20,000.
“It is a rather larger company. I think one of the larger reasons they were looking at FCi in particular was the shared values and collaboration with every level up and down the company,” Bryant said.
Bryant noted that PAE is still committed to community involvement in much the same way that FCi has been.
In an unrelated matter, Air Evac. Life Team, which is an emergency medical helicopter service, announced Tuesday that an affinity agreement is being signed between the service and the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
This means that chamber members and their employees will qualify for discounted memberships to the air medical helicopter service.
More details will be announced at a later time.
In addition, during Tuesday’s luncheon, Carpenter announced that the Williamsburg Tourism Center will now be the permanent home for the chamber luncheons when the luncheons are held in Williamsburg.
The monthly membership luncheons are typically held in Corbin or Williamsburg.
The next luncheon will be Aug. 17 in Williamsburg.