The Harlan Tourist and Convention Commission is working to publicize motorcycle trails through Harlan.
“This is a project that Tracy Bailey from Cumberland tourism and I have been working on for the past six months,” said Harlan Tourism Director Brandon Pennington, during a recent meeting.
Pennington said Hank Phillips, deputy commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism, stated in the coming years motorcycle trails are going to be one of the highlighted attractions in the department’s visitor’s guide.
“We’re really doing well in this, we’re ahead of the curve,” said Pennington. “Harlan, Cumberland and Letcher counties are all working together from Kentucky.”
Pennington said that the communities of Norton and Wise, Va., are also working to develop advertising for the motorcycle trails.
“We’ve talked about brochure printing and distribution for those brochures,” said Pennington. “At our last discussion, there was a number of $10,000 thrown out that was to be split between Kentucky and Virginia for these brochures and for the print distribution.”
Pennington asked the board if they were “on board” to split the money between Harlan, Cumberland and Letcher counties and the involved Virginia counties to produce brochures for a motorcycle trail. The trail has been named the “Appalachian Back Roads” trail.
“There’s over 20 trails that we’ve mapped out. I think it’s actually 27 trails,” said Pennington. “We’re adding more with Letcher County.”
Pennington said the state is ready to advertise motorcycle trails heavily in its next visitor guides.
“Jeremy Williams showed me an article in Blue Ridge magazine. It was about a bike that had come through Harlan and Cumberland and how these trails need to be advertised,” said Pennington.
The panel asked about using Little Shepherd Trail as a motorcycle trail.
“We’ve actually named the Little Shepherd Trail, we have the Little King and the Two Kings,” said Pennington. “The Little King would be the Little Shepherd Trail from Harlan to Cumberland. The Two Kings would be going from Harlan to Cumberland to Letcher County. You get both of the mountains in there with the Two Kings.”
Pennington said there is also a nod to the Justified television series involved in naming the trails.
“We have the Fire in the Hole ride, which is the ride from Harlan to Cumberland that we named the Fire in the Hole because we can’t use Justified due to copyright laws,” said Pennington. “But we can put a nod to an unlicensed catchphrase, which is also the novel that Elmore Leonard wrote that Justified is based on.”
Board member Annie Fox stated that the project will cost the commission approximately $1,500 to $2,000.
“You also have to realize that we not only have Harlan and Cumberland, but we also have Letcher County and Virginia. This is a big collaborative,” said Fox.
Pennington said that Harlan hotels and restaurants will be featured on the materials.
“I think it’s another venue, another tourism attraction. I think it’s something we should invest in,” said Fox.
The commission passed a motion to pursue the project.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, firstname.lastname@example.org