By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
April 17, 2013 —
After a little more than a year at the helm of Carter Caves State Resort Park, the facility is enjoying a revitalized presence under the guiding hand of Park Manager Chris Perry.
When he took a job at the park to help pay his way through college, however, Perry had no idea how that decision would shape his future.
“I had intentions of becoming a teacher but I started to work here while attending Morehead State and ended up falling in love with the place,” Perry said.
After receiving his degree in public administration from MSU, Perry’s original goal was to become the park’s business manager.
When former park manager Adam Collings suddenly passed away, Perry felt it was important for someone the staff was comfortable with to step up and help see them through the transition.
“Any time you bring in a new leader, even under normal circumstances, it can be a tough transition. We were all hit so hard when Adam passed away. I knew it was up to me to bring a sense of stability to the place and help maintain morale,” Perry said. “We’re a family here at the Caves. So as the new manager, it was important for me to hold us together during that difficult time.”
Since taking over, Perry has made it his primary goal to reach out to Carter County locals, inviting them to rediscover the park’s many activities and attractions.
“My main objective was to inform our locals about what we have to offer. We have a lot of unique things at the Caves. I put our beauty, activities and accommodations up against any other destination in this area,” Perry said.
Under Perry, the Caves have also become noticeably more involved in local community organizations, including both the Grayson and Olive Hill chambers of commerce.
Even though white nose syndrome, a deadly disease affecting bats, has impacted the park’s broader tourism appeal, Perry was able to share a bit of good news on the horizon for potential cave goers.
“We’re hopeful that we can open Saltpeter Cave again this summer for walking tours. It’s been closed for four years and we’re really working hard to make it available to the public,” Perry said.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.