Lake Cumberland Tourism receives $175K to lead region wayfinding project

Traversing Lake Cumberland will soon be easier for the more than 4 million people who visit the lake every year, thanks to a $175,000 grant from the Kentucky Department of Tourism.

Awarded to the Somerset-Pulaski County Convention & Visitors Bureau as a multi-jurisdictional project, the funds — part of the Tourism Recovery and Investment American Rescue Plan Act — will be used to design and install a wayfinding system covering all 101 miles of Lake Cumberland in Russell, Pulaski, Wayne, McCreary, and Casey counties.

The project will include at least 50 directional markers that help visitors find their way to coves, tributaries and marinas, paired with kiosks at each marina that provide a key to the lake for people preparing to hit the water. The Corps of Engineers will place and install signs in the proper locations as well as provide a detailed listing of all signs needed.

Danielle Wilson, executive director of the Lake Cumberland Tourist Commission in Russell County, said the ability to partner with the Corps of Engineers on a project of this stature will not only benefit the counties surrounding the lake but also their visitors.

“Navigating Lake Cumberland can be tedious if you aren’t familiar with its many waterways, so adding 50-plus signs to designate where you are will be a benefit to everyone,” Wilson said.

“We are grateful to the Kentucky Department of Tourism for selecting our grant application for the Lake Cumberland Wayfinding Signs project,” said Michelle Allen, executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski County CVB and chair of the Southern Kentucky Vacations region, which includes all five counties. “This is a multi-jurisdiction competitive grant project, and we are so excited to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make it happen. Partnerships create success and all five communities surrounding the lake have a passion to keep improving the experiences we all share on our beautiful Lake Cumberland.”

The tourism offices in these communities have a great working relationship, Allen said, allowing the project to be a viable candidate for the grant.

“Each Lake Cumberland community will have a footprint in making this project a reality,” she said.

From left: Danielle Wilson, executive director of Lake Cumberland Tourist Commission; Leslie Ikerd, executive director of See Somerset Tourism; Seth Rice, executive director for Wayne County Tourism; Jonathan Friedman, resource manager for Lake Cumberland and Laurel River Lake; Karen Hackett, Kentucky Department of Tourism; Michelle Allen, executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Convention & Visitors Bureau; Rhonda Nix, Kentucky Department of Tourism; Alison Pyles, executive director Burnside Tourism; Michelle Perry, executive director of McCreary County Tourism; Sherri Poore, executive director of Clinton County Tourism; Mike Mangeot, Kentucky Department of Tourism commissioner.