KY Transportation Cabinet Grant Funds Trail Improvements
The Daniel Boone National Forest, under the management of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, oversees a trail system that connects recreation opportunities, natural resources, and communities across more than 708,000 acres in Eastern Kentucky. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recognized the role the Forest plays in the provision and maintenance of regional transportation with a $2.4 million grant to improve the Forest’s motorized and non-motorized trails and trail programs.
Grants funds will support work in several key areas.
Well-Trained Trail System Employees & Crews
- Hired four temporary employees to lead motorized and non-motorized trail projects and supervise volunteer and service teams. With their support, the Forest has completed projects in partnership with local volunteer trail partners, like Sheltowee Trace Association, Red River Gorge Trail Crew, and Backcountry Horsemen, and larger service organizations like the American Conservation Experience, Southeast Conservation Corps, AmeriCorps NCCC, and the Greening Youth Foundation. (July 2020)
- Hosted motorized equipment and trail maintenance workshops for Forest staff and local trail partners. These trainings were led by American Conservation Experience expert instructors. (Trainings: October 2021)
Trail Master Plan and Vision
The Daniel Boone National Forest partnered with Virginia Tech, Penn State, and Kay-Linn Enterprises to provide an analysis of the existing trail system and a vision for the future management of the Forest's trails. This effort includes a formal assessment of the trail network, multiple avenues for public engagement, and formal collaboration with partners, stakeholders, and neighbors. (Projected Completion: Spring 2022)
Accelerated Pace of Mandatory Clearances
The clearances required for trail reroutes or new trail construction have been a strain on existing Forest resources in the past. To alleviate this strain and increase the pace of these clearances, the Forest:
- Partnered with several local universities, like Eastern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University, to complete the archaeological clearance surveys required for trail rerouting or new trail construction.
On-the-Ground Trail Improvements
Increased trail crew capacity and expertise has allowed the Forest to complete general maintenance and trail relocations across over 400 miles of the Forest trail system. Specifically, the Forest has:
- Removed over 1,000 tree blowdowns (as of October 2021)
- Brushed 60 miles of trail (as of October 2021)
- Improved tread on 8 miles of trail (as of October 2021)
- Relocated the Buck Creek Trail #118 to avoid the Zilpo National Forest Scenic Byway
- Relocated Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail #100 Section 10 to avoid landslide damage