Harlan is Expanding

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Harlan is Expanding

Postby kesterkamp » Fri Dec 26, 2014 5:13 pm

http://harlandaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar ... 985&Ref=AR

Harlan County’s top tourist attraction is planning to expand in a big way.

The Black Mountain Off-Road Adventure Area expects to add an additional 1,200 acres of trails during 2015.

“It’s going to be a good deal,” Harlan County Outdoor Recreation Board chairman Dallas Gilbert said. “It can’t happen quick enough. It’s got everything that you could possibly want in there.”

The new trails will be on land on the north side of Black Mountain off U.S. 119 near Putney which is being reclaimed from surface mining. The original permit for the operation included a plan for post-mining recreation use, the first time that has happened in Kentucky.

“The county will take the area for public recreation. It just about doubles the area of the park. We are going to go in there and put trails in it. Whenever the mine operator and the department of mines and minerals decides that it’s ours then we can take it over,” outdoor rec board member Ken Crider said.

According to state records, the permit (No. 868-0329) was issued to Cuz Coal Co. of Grays Knob. The approved post-mining land use is recreation for the entire 302.38 acres of the permit. The recreation PMLU was approved in the original permit when it was issued on June 3, 2010.

“A letter was included in the original application from Joseph A. Grieshop, Harlan County Judge-Executive, that the Harlan County Off-Road and Recreation Park Board would supply gravel needed for the parking areas and the access road and maintain the facilities,” Dick Brown, director of the Office of Public Outreach for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, said.

“Other than the areas for permanent roads and parking areas, the remainder of the permit area will be revegetated with grasses and trees to the standards of fish and wildlife habitat,” Brown said. “There is a pending minor revision (revision No. 3) which is required to address issues on the permit prior to applying for bond release — realigning increments, designating which areas qualify for two-year liability and which areas require five year liability.”

Grieshop said the new trails will be a big boost to Harlan County tourism.

“As we move forward in the United States and particularly eastern Kentucky, quality of life, diversity in income and economic development is important and this offers new ideas, expansion of the current programs, there can be more events held in the acreage that we are going to get,” Grieshop said. “That will allow more income for the outdoor rec board and that will allow them to expand operations. Tourism is a big part of our future. Tourism is a form of economic development and tourism also offers us a quality of life factor that plays in to moving in other industry.

The additional trails were in the original plan for the ATV park, Grieshop said.

“Ten years ago Duane Bennett’s company was getting ready to do some mining on the north side of the outdoor recreation board park,” Grieshop said. “We were planning on using that area after mining was done and as part of their permit the Bennett family was able to put in there the post mining use and the post mining use was going to be an extension of the ATV park. So, by getting the desired layout of how we would like it to be, the engineer was able to put into the project some of the desirable affects that we would like to have in the lay of the land when they’re finished.”

Grieshop added the idea of extending the outdoor park beyond its current boundary began years before it opened.

“We were working with Duane Bennett and his family around the year 2003 when we had meetings with them and began to work out having an outdoor recreation operation. But then later on when they were beginning to mine over there Duane Bennett sent his engineer over to us and he asked us where you would like it to be so that when we put in for the permit we could include that information. This is probably the first project that was done that way.”

The project went into the permitting process with the outdoor recreation desire included, Grieshop said.

“What that means for the company is a quicker bond release. What that means for the company is less expense on getting the land post mining ready for release, because if it meets the desires for the outdoor rec board and it meets the desires of the state with respect to that, then the bond can be released.”

The new trails will make off-road park events more challenging, Grieshop said.

“It is really great public-private partnership. It’s a great partnership for the state. There are winners in every corner and I think that Harlan County will ultimately see the results of this partnership because we will probably be in the best position on the eastern United States for rock climbing competition in a permanent place that can just get better every year. Harlan County had ready-made challenges. We do not have to create them.”

Reach Kevin Halpern at 606-909-4146 or on Twitter @Kevin_hde
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Re: Harlan is Expanding

Postby broncomarc » Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:51 am

I just read that article and was about to post it here. The only issue is that it is across the street from the Putney campground. Quite a ways from where we usually ride.
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