Sunday, July 10th, 2011, was a beautiful day in Elkhorn City and a good day for our little tourism industry. Ratliff’s Hole was full of people using the Russell Fork River. I saw 42 different paddlers in the river and 50 plus swimmers. The most interesting sight was the two folks using an air mattress and running down the river from the put in down to the play hole. They were having a blast, as was everyone using the river that today.
Last week, I saw two boaters from Alaska eating at the Rusty Fork Cafe. This morning I saw 13 boaters eating at the Rusty Fork. Today the license plates in the parking lot where from Fayette County, Jefferson County, Letcher County, Boyd County, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
What amazes me about this is I saw about 8 locals at Ratliff’s Hole and only two of them using the river. Everyone else was out of county or out-of-state. Just like a prophet is not known in his or her hometown, the cleanest and most beautiful river in the eastern United States isn’t either. It makes me sad that we have such a great asset and it seems that most of the local people have no appreciation for it. Well, I guess they are all in South Carolina keeping Myrtle Beach in business. I heard that at the end of the month of July, South Carolina has to bring in the heavy equipment just to get the coal dust off the beach!
Another area of adventure tourism Elkhorn City is seeing some benefits from is the Transamerica 76 cross-country bike Trail. Today, I also saw 5 bicyclists coming through town on the Transamerica Trail. Earlier in the week a group of 10 came through and a couple of them had some mechanical breakdowns. This has happened a lot this year. It really points out the need for a small bicycle shop in town. We used to have one back in the early 1990’s and it did pretty well. In fact, I bought my bicycle from “Bike Mike” at the Mountain Bike Shop. It was next to the post office on one side of the old Western Auto building.
Today reinforced to me they need for the Elkhorn City to develop the Russell Fork River in its downtown. The Elkhorn City Area Heritage Council
has a detailed plan regarding a whitewater in river play park for the downtown area. I can imagine 100 times the activity I saw today at Ratliff’s Hole right in the
middle of downtown Elkhorn City when it is completed. You can find the plan here
and it is well worth the read. Take a look and let me know what you think.