Livermore Trail Town Task Force hopes to acquire several access points in Ohio County along the Rough River for paddle boating and plans to open biking and paddle-craft trails for a trial run by early summer.

The Livermore Enhancement Foundation’s Trail Town Task Force met with Hartford community members and attorney Tara Ward recently to discuss obtaining several access points along the Rough River, specifically one located at Barnett Creek off of Kentucky 136 in Ohio County.

The trail would be a 6- to 8-hour trip into Livermore by paddle-craft. Creating these access points would give specified drop-off locations for canoeists and kayakers along the preferred paddle-craft trails, furthering Livermore’s Trail Town efforts.

The access points, however, are contingent upon landowners along the proposed access points agreeing to allow their land to be used for recreational purposes.

One landowner in attendance at the meeting voiced concerns about liability issues, low water levels during the summer months and trotlines placed along Barnett Creek.

“There’s going to be times when you just can’t kayak down there …The peak of summer, once it dries up, you’re not going to be in there,” said Tristan Buckman, a member of the Trail Route Advisory Committee for the task force. “If something happened … nobody’s going to be liable, I mean, that’s up to you to take care of yourself … I’ve never had a trotline affect me in any way.”

Ward said the agreement releases landowners from liability for paddle boaters so long as there is no malicious intent.

“There’s always some inherent danger with any outdoor activities,” she said. However, the land use agreement drafted “exempts landowners from any liability so long as they allow it to be used for recreational purposes.”

While landowners seem willing to cooperate with the efforts as long as they are not liable for accidents, another big issue is getting waterways cleaned up along the Rough River, which will take time, according to Thacker.

The Livermore Trail Town Task Force hopes to have a trial run of the paddle-craft trails by May or June.

“It’s got a lot of potential,” said Ralph Thacker, co-director of the Trail Town Task Force. “If we can get this point of access, then maybe farmers will see it’s a positive thing.”

The task force also plans for a trial run of the biking trails around the same time frame.

The efforts in opening paddle-craft and bike trails in McLean will put Livermore one step closer to becoming an official Kentucky Trail Town, Thacker said.

According to the Kentucky Adventure Tourism Department, some of the benefits of becoming a Trail Town are it brings tourists and businesses into the area and encourages business development.

Trail Towns also receive marketing and branding from the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet and will be featured on visitor guides and highway maps in addition to other promotional materials.

While the task force still has many goals it hopes to meet for its Trail Town efforts, the city of Livermore has made several strides already just in the past year, according to Thacker.

cnetherton@mcleannews.com, 270-691-7360

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