BREATHITT COUNTY INVENTORY AND ACTION PLAN FOR ADVENTURE TOURISM INITIATIVE
A second meeting was held at the Breathitt County Museum and included most of the Action Team and a few people from the community. Following the meeting, a tour was taken of the museum, the old jail and a few other notable sites downtown. The Breathitt County Museum was a pleasant surprise. The museum has numerous displays on a variety of subjects that are done very professionally and well worth seeing. But the museum is located in the upper level of the senior citizen building which is a bit confusing to a first time visitor. And the parking in the rear of the building made access to the museum a bit challenging. A first time visitor might not know what to do.
TWO OF THE NOTABLE SITES DOWNTOWN
Two other worthwhile stops downtown is the historic jailhouse and Breathitt County War Memorial which were both quite impressive. The jailhouse is now being restored and has recently added an elevator to access its upper levels. (See next page for more on the jail). Located next door is the Breathitt County War Memorial which is quite impressive. More people should be encouraged to visit this very moving memorial recognizing those who served our county and noting the number of men who served and the significance of this.
And although this may not seem to some to have anything to do with adventure tourism, Breathitt County has a very rich history for “feudin’ ‘n’ fightin” as evidenced from the historical marker above. The stories are rich and colorful and tell of a time when men settled arguments with a fist and a gun. The feuds and fights that occurred in Breathitt County make the Hatfield & McCoy feuds look like a picnic. Think how much that area has capitalized on their history. Is there a reason Breathitt Countians should not do the same?
It is also highly recommended that consideration be made to move the Breathitt County Museum into the historic jail. The facility itself has such a history to be told and how better to tell it than to make it a part of the museum. Its close proximity to the war memorial plus the fact that it has its own parking area and a completed elevator makes it all the more perfect.
The cells themselves would make excellent settings and the old metal bunk beds the inmates once slept in could become shelving for artifacts just as they are.
Other rooms in the jail (as shown in the photo to the right) are just basic rooms which could be set up under different themes and showcase items now on display at the current Breathitt County Museum location. Note the metal bunk beds which could be used to display artifacts and information.
1. Move the Breathitt County Museum in its entirety to the Old Historic Jailhouse.
2. Capitalize on Breathitt County’s rich and colorful past.
MAPPING THE ADVENTURE TOURISM OFFERINGS
After touring the downtown area, a guided drive through the county was conducted and notes taken. See below for a detailed map of the county and its current adventure tourism-related offerings which include motorcycle trails, canoeing and fishing opportunities, bicycle route, and an ATV trail. Both the proposed scenic byway driving tour and rail to trails initiative are also shown on the map.
As indicated by the legend to the right, Breathitt County offers wonderful windy roads for motorcycles whose routes are marked in blue, green, red and purple. There is also a proposed 3-county scenic byway, an existing bicycle route, ATV trails, a canoe trail and fishing. A three-county rails to trails initiative has been delayed but public officials feel it may be developed soon.