Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-05) applauds Eastern Kentucky PRIDE for earning a $250,000 competitive grant from the Economic Development Administration for the new Kentucky Wildlands initiative to promote tourism in Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

“For years, PRIDE volunteers have cleaned up our hillsides, lakes and streams to preserve the beauty of our Appalachian region. The Kentucky Wildlands initiative is the next natural step to let the world know that we are working hard to make this a destination hotspot for outdoor adventure and wildlife enthusiasts,” said Congressman Rogers. “I’m incredibly proud of our leaders at PRIDE for dreaming big and creating partnerships to make our region an exciting and beautiful place to live.”

The Eastern Kentucky PRIDE Foundation serves 41 counties. This project will implement a marketing initiative with destination branding as, “The Kentucky Wildlands, Elevate Your Play,” which will leverage the region’s natural assets and strong cultural heritage to promote new or enhanced traveler experiences that increase tourism spending and strengthen tourism as an economic driver for the region.

“We are so grateful for EDA's support of this initiative. Our tourism industry has been among the hardest hit during this pandemic. Our region is poised to be the place to visit, especially for social distancing. With our vast landscape, hundreds of waterfalls, miles upon miles of hiking trails. The Kentucky Wildlands has it all,” said Tammie Nazario, President and CEO of PRIDE. “This grant will allow us to extend our media marketing efforts beyond that provided by the current ARC POWER grant of $1.15 million, providing the help our small communities need as we work to recover from the current events.”

“This welcome grant funding will continue tapping into the heritage and potential of Eastern and Southern Kentucky. I was proud to work with my good friend Congressman Rogers to help deliver these federal resources,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The Kentucky Wildlands Initiative will continue encouraging growth across the Appalachian region, helping families and communities prosper. I’m delighted to support Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, and I look forward to the future exploration of this wonderful area.”

The Kentucky Wildlands is projected to impact 54 designated Opportunity Zones located in the service area to create jobs and spur economic development in a region hit hardest by the downturn of the coal industry. Congressman Rogers was proud to join Senate Leader Mitch McConnell to usher legislation through Congress last year that directs the National Park Service to complete a study to determine whether Kentucky's Appalachian region meets the requirements to become the Kentucky Wildlands National Heritage Area, which would be Kentucky’s first such designation.

EDA grants are awarded through a competitive process based upon the application’s merit, the applicant’s eligibility, and the availability of funds. More information on EDA’s grant and investment process can be found at

Click here to learn more about The Kentucky Wildlands study