Chamber of Commerce talks tourism

Special to The Times

January 24, 2014

PRESTONSBURG — The Floyd County Chamber of Commerce held a networking luncheon meeting Tuesday, at Pig in a Poke BBQ. The topic for this luncheon was area tourism and the financial impact tourism has on the local economy.

During the luncheon, two speakers elaborated on area tourism. Trinity Shepherd, naturalist for Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, reviewed information on elk tours and other events being held at Jenny Wiley. Freddie James, Prestonsburg Tourism Commission director, provided historical perspective on commerce and tourism, discussed Floyd County tourist attractions, and relayed information on a new venture touted as the “Moonshine Hideaway.”

Shepherd indicated that the Elk Viewing Tours are offered on specific dates September through March. Since elk were reintroduced into Kentucky through a restoration project by the Department of Fish & Wildlife in 1997, Kentucky’s Elk population has grown to almost 10,000. Some of the best places to view the elk habitats are on reclaimed surface mines in Eastern Kentucky, Shepherd said, and that is why elk tours are so popular in our area.

Following the elk tour discussion, James described the many tourism activities in and around Floyd County. He told the group how bus tours enjoy coming to the area and a new project called the “Moonshine Hideaway” is fast becoming a popular attraction. The actual Moonshine Hideaway is located at the Jenny Wiley campground. He indicated tour groups will take a pontoon boat ride around Dewey Lake then be escorted to the Hideaway where they will see a demonstration on how to make moonshine using an actual still (but using water). Following the demonstration, the moonshiners will then break out into mountain hoedown songs and all have a BBQ.

James noted that he can see the Hideaway Moonshine Tour becoming very popular over the next few years. He said the moonshine aspect intrigues the tourists and leaves a lasting impression when they are considering plans for their next trip.

Both Shepherd and James emphasized to the group how important it is for local residents to know the many activities and events offered in the area, so they can help spread the word about and all the tourism activities the area offers.