PRESTONSBURG, KY – U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers joined local leaders at Archer Park in Floyd County to celebrate the completion of The Prestonsburg Passage, an 8.2-mile rails-to-trails project that converted a former railroad track into a paved trail for hiking and biking in Prestonsburg.
The City of Prestonsburg competitively earned a $1.95 million Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot Grant in 2016 for the tourism project.
"The people of Floyd County are to be commended for their diligent work to make Prestonsburg a destination for folks who want to get outside and enjoy life in Eastern Kentucky. The Prestonsburg Passage could be one of the most impressive trails in the country - it's a major tourist attraction," said Congressman Rogers. "The AML Pilot grant program is seed money for our coal communities, and we have planted those seeds over all of the United States, including $140 million right here in Kentucky's Appalachian region. I believe we will see the fruits of your labor here in Prestonsburg for many years to come."
The trail is already attracting new businesses, including an RV campsite that recently opened along the trail in David, Kentucky, with plans for future development.
"Our passage trail is a great illustration of what Congressman Rogers, through his foresight and experience, has been able to do for all of the Appalachian region. The AML Pilot program provides grant money directly to declining coal communities to help us flourish and make these dream projects come to life," said Les Stapleton, Mayor of Prestonsburg. "Our Passage Trail has opened up tourism for not only Prestonsburg, but has started breathing new life into the David Community with visitors from all across the state and beyond our borders."
The trail has already welcomed well over 200 adventure-seekers on weekends.
"People used to come to Red River Gorge and stop, but now they are coming on down to Prestonsburg to enjoy our trails. The Gorge is now a gateway into our community," said Samantha Johnson, Executive Director of Prestonsburg Tourism. "Despite all the challenges we faced in 2020, our community benefitted from $44 million in tourism-related spending last year, and I believe that's just the beginning."
One Saturday every month, golf carts are also allowed on the trail, including golf carts that are available for rent.
"I want to thank Congressman Rogers and his staff for all that they do for our community. This trail is going to have a positive impact on our economy for many years to come," said Robbie Williams, Floyd County Judge Executive.
For more information about The Prestonsburg Passage, visit https://prestonsburgky.org.
To see more photos from the event, visit Congressman Rogers' Facebook page.
For more information about Congressman Rogers' work in Washington and here at home in Kentucky, visit https://halrogers.house.gov.
The Prestonsburg Passage Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony