FRANKFORT, Ky. – Breaks Interstate Park will receive a $358,035 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to provide improved parking and restroom facilities, repaving an access road and create a new trail at the Ratliff Hole Area of Breaks Interstate Park in Pike County.
“The Breaks Interstate Park Commission has been engaged in an ongoing effort to expand our offerings on the Pike County portion of park property,” said park Superintendent Austin Bradley. “To that end, we have secured over $1 million in funding for the construction of a pedestrian bridge across the Russell Fork River, which will serve as a spectacular new trailhead for the Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail.”
Upon completion, the bridge at Ratliff Hole will become the longest pedestrian swinging bridge (750 feet) in the United States. These upgrades, along with other site improvements, are designed to double the number of visitors to the park over the next three years.
ARC funds will be used to enhance the Ratliff Hole Area, less than 0.2 miles from a future pedestrian suspension bridge. This project will provide a trail connection between the bridge and the Ratliff Hole Area, improve the existing parking and restroom facilities, add an additional parking lot to accommodate more traffic and repave an access road. These facilities accommodate swimmers and kayakers who use the Russell Fork River but have not been updated since 1990.
The grant funding is administered by the Department for Local Government (DLG). In addition to ARC funds, local sources will provide $89,509, bringing the total project funding to $447,544.
“Breaks Interstate Park is a natural wonder, and this investment shows Kentucky’s commitment to the success of our Appalachian regions,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “This funding will allow more people to enjoy the park and see the beauty of Eastern Kentucky.”
DLG Commissioner and Gov. Beshear’s ARC Representative Dennis Keene said, “These ARC funds will allow visitors of Breaks Interstate Park to have greater access to the natural beauty of Kentucky. These improvements will bring more guests to the park and be an economic boon to our commonwealth.”
“The grant we are now receiving, through the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative, will make it possible to completely upgrade the roads, parking lots, access trails, and restroom facilities located at the trailhead,” Superintendent Bradley continued. “Thanks to these upgraded facilities, the park’s visitors will be better able to enjoy the myriad of hiking, fishing and kayaking opportunities found on the park’s Kentucky property.”
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 423 counties whose mission is to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia and help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. More information is available at www.arc.gov.
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