Our series featuring some of The Stewards of our wild places in Kentucky continues with the Sheltowee Trace Association. The STA was formed in the fall of 2009 when a group of concerned outdoor enthusiasts met with the United States Forest Service in Winchester to discuss the needs of the Sheltowee Trace and decide how a citizen organization might be able to help. Out of this meeting was born the Sheltowee Trace Association, a 501(c)3 dedicated to protecting, preserving, and promoting the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail as a significant national resource for the enjoyment of hikers, bikers, and equestrians. With headquarters in Livingston and chapters scattered along it’s length the STA relies on donations and volunteer hours to meet most of it’s objectives. They usually have a host of projects and events under way including Hike the Trace in Rowan County, trail shuttles, the Gathering, STA Outdoor Adventures Programs, trail maintenance, and the annual Hiker Challenge. 2016 was a record year for the Hiker Challenge with 37 people earning their “end to end” patch. Since it’s inception 5 years ago over 100 people have completed the Challenge. 2016 also saw a new record for volunteer hours with over 2,000 donated by supporters of the STA. Finally, the largest and most expensive construction project ever undertaken by the STA took place in 2016 with the Van Hook Falls staircase project. With help from Ross Tarrant Architects and several other volunteers this project was completed over the course of several days last summer. As the 40th anniversary of the Sheltowee Trace approaches the STA has a goal of extending the Trace north to the Ohio River and the North Country Trail and south to the Cumberland Trail, connecting The Great Eastern Trail with the North Country Trail and opening up the Sheltowee and thousands of miles of the National Trail System to the nation.
For more info on how to support or join the STA visit their website at www.sheltoweetrace.org.