July 2, 2014 — The beautiful scenery of Carter County can be admired close up and personal from Tygart’s Creek.
The 22 miles of waterway offers several access points for fishing and those who enjoy kayaking and canoeing.
There is just one problem. There isn't an outfitter in Olive Hill who can help provide the necessary equipment and transportation.
“They get 100 inquires a year at Carter Caves,” said Jonathan Lewis of the Olive Hill Chamber of Commerce. “There is no place to rent a canoe or a bicycle. People want to go horseback riding for the day, not just 45 minutes.”
Lewis said the need for outdoor options is obvious but no one has stepped in to fill the void.
“People want to see Tygart’s Creek but they aren't going to spend all of their money on a boat, paddles, and life jackets,” Lewis said. “But if you are able to rent one for the day and take the kids out, that would be well worth it.”
Jeff Cress runs Three Trees Canoe and Kayak Rental in Winchester. Located on the Kentucky River, he has seen a huge increase in paddling within the last five years.
“We call it recreational paddling,” Cress said. “When we decided to start offering this service, we bought 20 boats, a used church van to shuttle the people and a trailer to haul the boats.”
Although the cost to outfit a paddle trip can be as little as $250 per person, Cress said that offering rentals is a great way to create interest and traffic to the area.
“We have user friendly kayaks and a safe place to put into the river,” Cress explained. “If you want to, you can rent the boat for the whole day and just paddle back here for $30.”
In the still-struggling economy, a day-trip on Tygart’s Creek would be an ideal “stay-cation” for local residents as well as attracting tourists.