Strategic Plan for Adventure Tourism
in Knott County

Gathering public input for Adventure Tourism in Knott County

During the month of June and July, eight public meetings were held in different parts of the county for community input and ideas in adventure tourism.  

Anticipated outcomes of strategic planning meetings:

  • Compile complete list of current and potential offerings in each area
  • Educate locals of current offerings and opportunities
  • Address infrastructure needs and concerns

The public meetings provided an opportunity to encourage people to share ideas about what they would like to see happen in the next 5 years for Knott County Tourism.  The first meeting was with the Knott County Tourism Commission to get their input, followed by public meetings in the communities of Hindman, Pippa Passes, Carr Creek, Mallie, Vest, Carrie and Mousie. 

An overview of the meeting with the Knott County Tourism Commission follows below and each of the public meetings is provided*.  A combined overview of all recommendations is provided in the previous section of this document.  

*More complete minutes for both the Tourism Commission meeting and the meeting in Hindman
are available upon request. 


The first meeting was held with the Knott County Tourism Commission at the U.S. Corps of Engineers office on Carr Creek Lake to get each commissioner’s view of what they felt each area had to offer in adventure tourism and priority projects they would like to see developed.  Below is an overview from the meeting:

Carr Creek Area  - Bernice Amburgey

a. Carr Creek Lake (600,000 to 700,0000 visitors annually)  - 150 slips and houseboats

b. Carr Creek Wildlife Management Areas

c. Horse Trails -  6 miles - Ky River/ Private landowners.

  • Need day use or overnight camping if possible. 

d. Red Fox – ATV

e. Red Fox – Park Community

f. Carr Creek Fish & Game

  • Shooting area and clubhouse

g. 4-Star Village

  • Rent pond, shelters, catering. 

h. Events by Rangers – Clean-up, Archery, Fishing for Kids.

i. Red Fox area has a community park and ATV Trails.

  • Need to GPS map and mark ATV Trails.

j. Hunting, Fishing, Hiking

Action:   Develop a horse campground and possibly cabins for lodging.

Mallie Area – Richard Pigman

Current offerings:   Offers a number of annual events but need to coordinate calendars

with other events happening within county.

a. Data collected on attendees?  Where are they coming from? 


  • Need to capitalize more on music events.
  • Need a hotel or B&B at Holly Hills.
    • Possible location behind bank.
    • Commitment on numbers from ALC and Settlement School.
    • Contact Rudean Adams, manager at Holly Hills.
  • Other Potential:
    • Carl Perkins home – Historical site.
    • Great location for a B&B.
    • Better utilization of the tank currently on display.  

Pippa Passes Area – Stephanie Damron

Things to capitalize on:

a. Historical

b. Café

c. Tours

d. Landmarks


  • Entrepreneur Center being developed at Alice Lloyd College for those wanting to start new businesses in the county. 
  • Elk viewing opportunity in lower Caney.
    • Need directional signage, food plots, interpretive signs.
      • Contact RMEF for assistance.

Carrie Community Area – Sylvia Combs

Things currently offered:

a. Music shows

b. Dinner Wednesday night

c. Carrie newsletter

d. Camp Nathaniel

e. Cordia Community Center and High School – This area needs to be included in the tourism plans.


  • Plans to develop a walking track.
  • Wish list to add benches to set around a water fountain with gold fish and others.
  • ATV Trail Potential:
    • Big Branch Area – Perry/Letcher

Hindman Area – Stuart Burrill & Rebecca Ware

Things currently offered:

  • City added benches and flower pots.
  • Artisan Center & Café
  • Artisan Studio
    • Plans to expand to four buildings.

 Issues:   Parking

Needs and Potential:

  • Develop a history museum and hands on kids hands-on exploration zone.
  • Focus on the number of people who have had a positive impact on county. 
  • Improve exterior of high school gym and develop.
  • Capitalize on both arts and music.
  • Parking.


Many of the recommendations listed below that came out in the Tourism Commission meeting are now being implemented.  For example, three site locations within the county have been identified as excellent locations for elk viewing;  a hospitality training course is now being offered in the county; Alice Lloyd College is also offering courses in entrepreneurship; and a special course is being offered in entrepreneurship through a flexi-grant awarded to the Knott County Tourism Commission.  

A tourist information booth has been built and is strategically located at the intersection of Highways 80 and 160 at the entrance to Yoder's Bulk Food Market which draws many visitors from outside the county due to their reputation for delicious bake goods and other items.
County welcome signs have been designed and funding is now being raised to erect four of them at the primary entrances to the county along both Highway 80 and Highway 15. A tourist information kiosk has been built next door to Yoder’s Bulk Food Store to provide information and maps to visitors coming into the area.  Motorcycle routes have now been laid out and maps developed.   Hwy 1098 up to Sutton Memorial Park and Elk View Drive has now been paved.  And a tourism signage program has been submitted to the state for approval. 
  1. Elk viewing plan for countywide.
  2. Motorcycle Trails to capitalize on windy roads.
    - Budweiser – Combs Custom Cycles
  3. Entrepreneurship Program.
  4. Hospitality Training.
  5. Capitalize on Yoder’s popularity.
  6. Pave Hwy 1098 to Sutton Memorial Park.
  7. Welcome signs at all four major entrances to county. (Hwy 80 and Hwy 15)
  8. Welcome signs into each community.
  9. Welcome Banners.
  10. Need gazebo at 160/80 to direct visitors to all offerings throughout the county.
    - Yoder’s has agreed to provide space next to them.
  11. Tourism signage throughout county.
Knott County Welcome Sign

Funding has been raised to place at least one of the signs along Highway 80 as one enters the county.


A quick summary of meeting held at the Hindman Settlement School is provided below focusing on the Hindman


  • Hotels, cabins, B&B’s


    • Sit-down, family restaurants, steak house, a little atmosphere.

    Transportation – Mass Transit

    • Shuttle system and volunteer tour guides.
    • Need familiarization tours not just for visitors but also for residents so they know what the county has to offer. 


    • Improved with bridge.
    • Need additional parking – Parking Structure.
    • Potential for Old High School.
    • Need to improve river access and make it more appealing.
      • Develop the river as an attraction.
      • Capitalize on clean up and use.
      • A study called the Community Development Plan for Knott County recommended building an amphitheater on the riverfront
    • The Community Development needs to be followed up on. 
      • Immediate action:  Need to review it and determine status of recommendations.
      • There was funding set aside for both sidewalk and lighting in the downtown area. 
    • Graystone Building – Clean-up.
    • Main Street Program.
    • Business Stimulus
    • Need affordable housing – Affordable rental.
    • Mural downtown on buildings depicting many offerings throughout county.

    Need a welcome center.

    Need campground and RV Park.

    Need countywide event.

    Need to develop 1 to 2 day tours.

    Better signage countywide.

    • Plan has been developed.

    A quick summary of meeting held at Alice Lloyd College is provided below
    focusing on the Pippa Passes area,

    Alice Lloyd College offers:

    • Café
    • Historical tours
    • Performances

     Need lodging, small hotel in the area and/or B&B’s and cabins.

    Elk tour potential – Thornsberry Branch area.

    Music – Bunyon Fork

    Need a welcome center so people will find out all the offerings throughout county.

    • Possibly use Green Thumb or Senior Volunteers.

    Need campground and RV park within county.

    Need shuttle service to take people on elk tours, historical tours, craft tours etc. 

    Potential area for trail development:

    • Knob area
    • ICG
    • Raven area
    • Hemp patch area

    Hunting opportunities:

    • Grouse and quail.

    Need hunting kennel – Entrepreneur opportunity

    • Fox, coon, etc.

    Sporting Clays – Pound Mill – Reynolds property.

    Old Hwy – excellent site for elk view station.

    Connector to Fire Trail through Hollybush.

    Need signage to let people know of the many offerings throughout county.

    A quick summary of meeting held at Carr Creek Lake Marina is provided below focusing on the Carr Creek area,

    Red Fox Resort – Status?

    • Proposed golf course and lodge to would complement Carr Creek State Park, an initiative that was considered strongly in the late 80’s through early 90’s.  

    Airport  is proposed on the Knott/Letcher County line.

    Need cabins, B&B’s.

    There is a home above the marina that might make an excellent B&B. 

    Pioneer Village has potential to be developed into a campground.    

    Potential for Carr Creek High School to be converted into lodging for visitors. 

    Carr Creek Lake

    • Marina – New owners have plans to:
      • Reopen the floating restaurant.
      • Add more slips.
      • Offer jet skis.
    • Beach area – Need boat docking area on either side.
    • No ski area – Safety issue. 

    Bird watching areas need to be added throughout county.  

    Carbon Glow near Letcher:

    • Great place for wildlife viewing and horseback riding.

    South Fork offers both elk viewing but primarily horses. 

    • Similar area near the lakes could be set up for both.
    • Pigman Bottoms near Pinetop.

    Mules now owned by the county could be used to offer wagon rides at special events. 

    Horse Back riding opportunities

    • Campgrounds at Littcarr park area.
    • Shingle Branch and other horse trails – Mapped trails  - Assistance from Bernice.

    Fish & Game group – Shooting range etc.

    Archery opportunities.

    Potential sites throughout the county for publicly accessible ATV trails and trailheads.

    Beaver Dam area – Consol – potential for additional campgrounds.

    Group lodging is needed.

    Need horse stable and a place to rent horses.

    Need a trolley or van to take people to different sites around county.  

    A summary of public comments made at the meeting held at the Mall Restaurant
    is provided below focusing on the Mallie area,

    Need interpretive signs.

    • Burgey’s Creek – excellent site for birding

    Bicycle Route:

    • Carrie Post Office serves as a  safe haven.
    • Need to expand on this. 

    Motorcycles very popular.  Connection with NASCAR and Petty racing

    • Motorcycle club – Follow up needed on this to find out more.
      • Ricky McDaniel, P.O. Box 394, Littcarr 41834

    Vicco Bass Tournament at Carr Creek Lake.

    Need a hotel and other lodging in the county.

    Red Fox Development was discussed.

    Proposed Knott/Letcher  County Regional Airport – behind old airport near Isom.

    Establish a festival that sets Knott County apart from all others.

    • Perry County has the Black/Gold Festival  which includes marching band competition – Pauletta Smith band director
    • Knott County should capitalize on being the “Elk Capital of the East”.
    • Develop everything centered around elk. 
    • One suggestion would be to rename Gingerbread Festival to Knott County Elk Festival. 
      • Include 1k  calf run
      • Elk Run


    • Was supposed to be located near the Human Service Center.
      • Parking is an issue and a concern.
    • CDI report recommended an amphitheater designed on Troublesome Creek as part of flood control.
      • Develop a play from James Still book “River of Earth”.

    Truck Familiarization program – trucker buddies & school groups.

    • Pen pal,  trucker buddies, website

    Develop a strong bluegrass festival.

    • Leslie County has a very successful festival. 
    • Vince Comb establishing one at Sutton Memorial Park.

    A summary of the public comments made at meeting held at Beckham Combs Community Center on the Vest Community,

    Hwy 160 to Vest needs to be addressed.

    • Three miles of narrow curvy road, 3-way stop and one lane bridge.

    Problem with beavers in Ball Creek. 

    • Starting at bridge they are stopping up culverts with potential for flooding issues.

    Plan for community center to start an incubator program.

    • Working with ARC to get grant for kitchen – Use for cooking and canning classes.
    • Sustainable foods
    • Develop “pizza” farms on ½ to 1 acre plots.
    • Develop bottom field into community gardens
      • Help people to grow their own food - Share garden plots.
      • Working with UK for seed program and farmers market.
    • Need  air conditioner for community center especially for incubator program.
    • Could also convert school into  B&B or assisted living apartments “with help from county” or an elder hostel.

    Develop eco-friendly tourism:

    • Go “Green” including electric ATV’s for quieter machines that don’t scare elk. 
    • Harvest and Planting Festivals.

    Potential festival possibilities – BBQ, Bluegrass, Corn-on-Cob festivals, living history days. 

    Craft trail in Vest community – There are many crafters and artisans in the area including a gifted basket maker who need to be included on the trail. 

    Need a museum for this area – Not Pat’s house.

    • Small museum within community center or a larger one representing entire county.
      • Centralized verses community-based.
      • Moonshine still and bootlegging history in the area.
    • Carl Perkins home was donated to college for a museum during the development of the Community Development Plan (CDI) in the 80’s. 

    Amphitheater and concerts.

    Need to continue community clean-up program.

    Sutton Development adjoins several other large land owners.

    • Land use
    • Forestry Stewardship Program & Corps of Engineers watershed managementb.    
    • Federal and state as well as community land use committee
    • Multi-use land plots for stewardship for ecotourism/agriculture, horse trails, hunting etc.  - Issues: Poaching, misuse, land theft

    Establish chapters of Knott County Land Use Committee in each portion of the county. 

    Look at Berea for example of a sustainable community.

    ATV Center – Addressed in ATV deaths. 

    A summary of public comments made at meeting held at Carrie Community Center is provided below focusing on the Carrie Community,

     Lodging and restaurants are needed.

    • Other than trail rides and ATV’s – What are some other sustaining draws for lodging and hotels?

    Need parking in Hindman.     

    • Recommend a parking structure.

    Develop antique business to compliment crafts downtown.

    ATV trails:

    • Ride from here (Mill Creek) to Letcher, Perry and back to Knott.
    • Thomas Reynolds knowledgeable of ATV trails in Carrie area.

    Pioneer Village – Development potential for using buildings for crafters and lodging in cabins.

    Red Fox Resort – Land and road to proposed golf course.   Check on status of ownership and potential for development possibilities.

    Need to open up back side of lake for hiking, biking and camping.

    Need another countywide clean-up and emphasis on keeping garbage picked up afterwards.

    • If areas were cleaned up, people might help to keep them clean.
    • Litter problem – PRIDE does a good job but hollows are in bad shape.  Need major clean-up.  Need big one-time operation to clean. 

    Need to clean up Troublesome Creek.

    • Could be an asset but currently more of an overgrown eyesore.
    • Need to have areas cleaned up to creek is more visible and accessible.
    • Federal dollars available for cleanup of creek.
      • Could come under guise of FEMA – as flood control issue. 
        • Take care of underbrush and sediment.
        • Not everyone wants a rock wall built along their portion of the creek which is what has been done in the past to address flood issues. 
      • Twice Knott County received funding to dredge creek and very little was accomplished except in the Hindman area.
      • Need to come up with a plan and everyone contact their state reps and congressmen to request work be done. 

    Need van at Sportsplex for tours.

    • Possibility of using the vans from LKLP.
    • LKLP is unable to do it as an agency but there may be a possibility of a private entrepreneur or organization starting a tour guide service.  (Van, fuel, insurance).
    • Public service transportation.

    Camp Nathanael – Open since the 30’s.

    • Operates from late February through late November.
    • Always open for people to visit but prefer them to call ahead for guided tours.
    • Possible attractions to visit:
      • Chapel – Hand quarried and stain glass windows from DC.
        • Swinging bridges.
        • Could incorporate into a “tourist stop” and elk view station.

    Need billboards and signage to promote what the county has to offer.  

     A summary of public comments made at meeting held at the Jones Fork Fire Department is provided below focusing on the Mousie Community

    Need Hotel – build near Sportsplex.

    Need good restaurants.

    Discussed sewage treatment plant and need for it to come to Mousie/Jones Fork Community.


    • Go up Bear Branch to strip job – More 4 wheelers than cars.
    • Can ride from Dismal/Pippa Passes/Hollybush/Martin Branch all the way to Virginia.

    Is county or state pushing tourism? – Will they help market it?

    Elk guide – Jerry Hall has already had calls from Alabama and Western KY for this year. 


    • Interest in building cabins if the county will help to advertise them
    • Several have plans to build cabins on their property but are trying to work out getting water and sewer to the sites at some point.
      • One person has a brother renting cabins in Ohio for $359 per weekend with very little to offer other than bird watching and quiet area. 
      • Hunters need places to stay as do families.

    Need to build nice lodging – not shacks.  Locate in strategic locations throughout county.

    • Do not want to be in worn out trailers or areas badly kept.   Want the county to establish themselves as a quality place to visit – Attract high end clientel that have money to spend.
    • One proposed site runs into Caney area.
    • Another potential area includes 150 acres where one can drive a car into it. 
      • Awesome view – “See all the way to Dollywood”.
    • Carl Gibson and others have approximately 1,000 acres to develop and is very interested in developing cabins on their property.

    Need campgrounds.

    • Potential to use both Caney and Beckham Combs Elementary schools which already have water and sewer and could accommodate 30 campsites or more.
      • Backhoe in one week could have it done.  

    County needs to develop a website.

    Need to work with PRIDE  and

    Need to educate people in the area with land to open it up to hunting.

    • Concern about county trail ride taking place during hunting season.
    • Concern that deer hunting season is during rutting season.

    Crafters in area  and potential of developing a crafts trail.

    • Ode Gibson in Pinetop area makes rocking chairs with bark bottoms.

    Many people in the Mousie area love to ride horses and that during the county trail ride, this part of the county is a ghost town. 

    Continued . . . Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10 | Pg 11 | Pg 12 | Pg 13

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