A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Seven Kentucky State Parks recognized in ‘Best in Kentucky’ awards from Kentucky Living magazine

Seven Kentucky State Parks were recognized in Kentucky Living magazine’s “Best in Kentucky” awards, which were announced Thursday at the 2019 Kentucky State Fair. The seven parks honored were My Old Kentucky Home, Cumberland Falls, John James Audubon, Green River Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, Natural Bridge and Barren River Lake. Kentucky State Park employees (from left) Richard Blanton, Wes Lanham,...

Corbin native Wes Lanham named new manager at Green River Lake State Resort Park

Wes Lanham has been named the new park manager at Green River Lake State Park in Campbellsville, Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland announced last week. Wes Lenham Lanham, a native of Corbin, earned his degree in recreation and park management administration from Eastern Kentucky University. He worked most recently as the manager at the Shiloh Roadhouse in London and was the director of parks and recreation...

Levi Jackson State Park in London celebrates opening of new seven-mile mountain bike trail

Levi Jackson State Park in London has opened a new 7-mile mountain bike trail. Ribbon cutting ceremony at Levi Jackson State Park (Photo From Kentucky State Parks) Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland formally opened the Broken Spoke Mountain Bike Trail last week, noting the new attraction would help attract more tourists to the park. “Levi Jackson State Park is very fortunate to have the city of London...

Nine schools awarded ‘Inside Out Education’ grants from Kentucky State Parks Foundation

Students from nine more Kentucky schools are taking field trips to a Kentucky State Park this fall thanks to a transportation grant from the Kentucky State Parks Foundation. The KSPF’s “Inside Out Education” initiative allows schools to seek the grants that enable students to learn about the environment, history or culture at a Kentucky State Park. The recent round of grants brings...

Latest renovations and upgrades of state parks already showing results, commissioner says

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky State Parks are getting some needed upgrades, but there’s more to be done, said Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland. The parks system received $18 million over the past two years from the state budget on the “Refreshing the Finest” project. Holland said that was a badly needed boost. “That has helped the parks system as much as anything...

Officials mark reopening of newly renovated May Lodge at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park

State and local officals Wednesday held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the renovated May Lodge at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, which is now open. A fire in March, 2016, forced officials to close the main lodge building, which included the park restaurant and lounge. The lodge rooms remained open during repairs and the restaurant moved to the conference center. “We are grateful that no one was hurt...

Commentary: Remember Kentucky State Parks as you kick off your summer travel season

By Donnie Holland Special to KyForward Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial kickoff for the summer travel season at Kentucky State Parks. Summer travel is good for our parks and good for Kentucky. The money spent by tourists at state parks help communities across the state. The economic impact of Kentucky State Parks is nearly $900 million. Kentucky State Parks have always been special to me. I spent...

Jesse Stuart Lodge, restaurant at Greenbo Lake State Park reopens after repairs from fire damage

State and local officials officially reopened the Jesse Stuart Lodge at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, following repairs from a fire that closed the building in 2015. “We’re glad to have the Greenbo Lake lodge back open as one of our 17 resort parks,” Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland said. “I commend the park staff for their hard work and patience.” A fire on Oct. 4, 2015, forced the...

State Parks assessing alternative uses for three golf courses; including one located at General Butler

Kentucky State Parks announced that it will look at alternative recreational uses for the 9-hole golf courses at Carter Caves State Resort Park and Kincaid Lake State Park. The parks previously sought proposals for private businesses to manage the golf courses, but did not receive any responses. As a result, the course at Carter Caves will close permanently April 2. The course at Kincaid Lake will...

Alcoholic Beverage Control, state parks partner to provide statewide STAR training sessions

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and the Kentucky Department of Parks are teaming up to provide monthly Server Training in Alcohol Regulations (STAR) classes for ABC licensees and their employees. The STAR course is a two-hour class for individuals that serve or sell alcoholic beverages in Kentucky. The course provides an overview of the state’s liquor laws and covers topics such...

Three Northern Kentucky schools among six to receive foundation grants to visit state parks

The Kentucky State Park Foundation has approved transportation grants for students at six schools, including three schools in Northern Kentucky, for visits to state parks during the current school year. Students from Howell Elementary in the Erlanger-Elsmere Independent School District and Beechgrove Elementary in the Kenton County School District will visit Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, thanks...

State Parks to offer discounts for current military, retirees, veterans beginning Nov. 1

The Kentucky State Parks will offer lodging discounts to current and former members of our nation’s armed services with the “USA Military Discount” program from Nov. 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017. The program is available to those on active military duty, retired members of the military, veterans, members of the National Guard and reservists. “The park system is proud to offer this discount to...

Lodges, cottages at all 16 Kentucky State Resort Parks will be open seven days a week for winter

Kentucky State Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland announced that 16 Kentucky State Park resorts will remain open for lodging seven days a week this winter. During previous winters, some resort parks were open four days a week. Holland said all functioning resort parks would be open for lodging to encourage more use and visitation. “We want to encourage Kentuckians and our guests from out of state...

State Parks booth at Kentucky State Fair this week offers both information and drawings for prizes

The Kentucky State Parks will have a booth at the 2016 Kentucky State Fair Aug. 18-28. The Kentucky State Parks booth will offer prize drawings for visitors. “The Kentucky State Fair is a great opportunity for people to find out more about our park system,” Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland said. “We invite everyone to come by our booth in the South Wing and learn more about their favorite park.” The...

Renovation projects planned at Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow, Barren River, Rough River state parks

Four Kentucky State Park resorts in south-central Kentucky will receive an estimated $4.9 million in safety and aesthetic improvements over the next two years, officials announced Wednesday. The funding comes from $18 million approved this year by Gov. Matt Bevin and the General Assembly. The improvements include structural repairs, painting and interior and exterior upgrades. Work for the “Refreshing...

Four Western Kentucky parks getting improvements under ‘Refreshing the Finest’ campaign

Secretary of Tourism, Arts and Heritage Don Parkinson and Commissioner of Kentucky State Parks Donnie Holland said four western Kentucky State Park resorts will receive an estimated $3.7 million in safety and aesthetic improvements over the next two years. The funding is part of the $18 million approved this year by Gov. Matt Bevin and the General Assembly. The improvements include structural repairs,...

Additional funding for park repairs won’t cover Cumberland Falls Resort conference center

The additional $18 million state legislators budgeted in April for Kentucky State Parks will pay to repair leaky roofs and faulty wiring – blamed for recent fires at two different lodges – but it isn’t enough to save the conference center at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. That building will be bulldozed after being condemned. “Over the years the parks have become pretty run down,”...

Bevin, tourism officials launch $18 million campaign to update, freshen state parks

Joined by Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Don Parkinson and Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland, Gov. Matt Bevin announced plans for an additional $18 million in funding for the Kentucky State Parks at a press conference held at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. “We have a stunning array of state parks here in Kentucky, but they have become a bit tired,” said Gov. Bevin. “We need to make...

Fire at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park forces lodge to close temporarily, no injuries reported

Late Tuesday night a fire erupted at the lodge at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. There were no injuries reported. Fire department officials say the blaze at Jenny Willey was a result of an electrical panel, and it has rendered the lodge temporarily closed as repairs are being made. The lodge at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Floyd County will be closed for a few days following a fire (Photo Provided) The...

Kentucky State Parks offering special lodging rates to assist stranded travelers during severe weather

Due to the severe weather conditions, the Kentucky State Parks are offering special lodging rates to assist stranded travelers and others who may need lodging during the winter storm, Parks Commissioner Donnie Holland announced Thursday. Lodge rooms will be available for $49.95 a night at the 16 resort parks. This rate will be available during severe weather. Lodge rooms will be available for $49.95...