Connecting the river counties to attract more tourism

The four river counties, Carlisle, Ballard, Hickman, and Fulton are branding themselves together to create more tourism. They’re increasing efforts to promote the Kentucky Great River Road Region Organization. It’s called KYGRRO for short, pronounced “Kentucky Grow”.

The organization's executive director Norma Pruitt, hopes the branding will help people see the area as a tourist destination and put new businesses on the map like Wright's Area 252 Riding Park in Carlisle County.

The park’s owner Chip Wright says they’re out on ATV’s every weekend. He’s added picnic tables for people who want to bring lunch.

He doesn't charge for the ride, but he's in the process of building a supply store as a trail head.

“There's a lot of people that have buggies and four wheelers that don't have a place to ride, this will be a good deal for them,” Wright said.

Pruitt hopes by adding more tourist destinations people driving from Illinois or Missouri toward Memphis, TN will choose the Kentucky Great River Road National Scenic Byway instead of Interstate 55.

“Our four county region along the Mississippi River is considered a national scenic byway which actually traverses from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico,” Pruitt said.

The goal is to have outdoor recreation all along the scenic byway from canoeing in Ballard County, ATV trails in Carlisle County, hiking and horseback riding in Hickman County, to cycling in Fulton County.

“We are branding that [KYGRRO] as a destination, as a location to come and see the things that have been here for years, but also the new places that are starting up and the entrepreneurs that are taking their property, their land, and converting it into a tourism destination to give folks that experience of what's here local,” Pruitt said.

The Federal Highway Administration awarded funding to KYGRRO to create a highway safety signage plan. Signage will be installed on 4 corridors off of I-24 and the Purchase Parkway (I-69) through each county to the Mississippi River.

Pruitt hopes this will signage, which should be up by the end of the year, will help more people learn about the region and choose to visit places like, Indian Camp Campground. The owner, Gene Bolin plans to open the RV Park by Labor Day.

“With the trail system coming in we thought it would be a good opportunity for campers,” Bolin said.

He’s hopeful this branding will lead people to pull in and stay awhile.

“Its bringing in people. When you've got people coming in from out of the area and out of the state they’re going home and they're saying, ‘hey that's a pretty nice place to ride let’s try it,’” Bolin said.

KYGRRO created a map tour guide to help highlight more than 120 sites, businesses, and activities in the region. Pruitt says through their promotion in less than two years they've been able to add an additional 65 sites.

To find out more information about KYGRRO click here.

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