Port Oliver Trail carves out a place in Bowling Green

Since the middle of January, KyMBA has been cutting the Port Oliver Trail, dubbed “Twisted Oliver.”  The four-mile trail weaves through 25 acres of woods at Barren River Lake, adjacent to Port Oliver.  As the name suggests, Twisted Oliver snakes through the trees with switchbacks and sharp berms for a fast and fun ride.  

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It’s Only Going Up From Here: Climbing gym opens in Bowling Green

In August of 2016 the Vertical Excape Facebook page made a very cryptic post many months after announcing the plans for a Bowling Green location. It was an unremarkable photo of a warehouse. There was no caption, no context, just the structure. To most it didn’t mean anything, but to the underground climbing community of Bowling Green, it was huge. The two-tone, metal building attached to an existing fitness center would be home to Bowling Green’s first climbing gym.  

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2015-2016 KSNPC Report

We are proud to announce that the Explore Kentucky Initiative was featured in the Kentucky State Nature Preserve Commission’s (KSNPC) biennium report to the governor and the Kentucky state legislature. KSNPC is a state agency that was created in 1976 to protect the best remaining natural areas in the state, to preserve Kentucky's natural heritage, and to help citizens recognize our dependency on healthy ecosystems.

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The Spoke Easy: Everyone Is Welcome

The Spoke Easy is the newest addition to one of the hippest small towns in Kentucky. Located in downtown Campbellsville, TSE is the city's first bike shop in a couple of decades. The outdoor recreational scene is growing in the area because of the great trails at Green River Lake State Park, making this the perfect time for a bike shop to open.

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Big South Fork River Dash Recap

This weekend my heart was warmed to see so many people from across our nation taking the opportunity to visit of one of Kentucky’s gems; the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. I feel blessed that we hosted such a diverse showing of craft in a first-year event with a rowing shell, SUPs, an outrigger canoe, canoes, kayaks, surfskis, ICF K-1s and a tandem surfski along our 8-mile course.

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The Explore Kentucky Must List: Waterfalls (Pt 2)

Greetings fellow waterfallers and explorers to the latest installment of the Explore Kentucky Must List: Waterfalls!  Last time, in Part 1, we visited 5 waterfalls which stretched from outside of Berea to the Daniel Boone National Forest a few miles downstream from Cumberland Falls.  Here, with Part 2 we’re going to pick up with where we left off and begin with The Big Falls itself, Cumberland Falls, and make our way into the less visited Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and then back into the Daniel Boone National Forest.  So take a seat and let’s continue on our journey to Kentucky's beautiful falling waterways...

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Let the Children Play With Sticks

  A few weeks ago, my good friend Gerry James was kind enough to come visit and speak at one of my events at the Brown County Library in Mt. Orab, Ohio. I asked him to bring ‘adventure’ and ‘outdoor exploration’ to our young people, and he delivered so much more. He brought a beautiful message from the Explore Kentucky Initiative, of his adventure paddling 137 miles on the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Louisville, that did spark enthusiasm and excitement in the children. The children were given an opportunity to get a close up, hands on view of the SUP board that was used in the presentation.

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Birding for Millennials

There are many ways to walk on a trail. There are times when I walk in order to talk with a friend, get to know a person. Other times, I walk by myself, wondering as I wander like the Kentuckian folksinger John Jacob Niles. When, at 26 years old, a misplaced Kentuckian living in Montana, I learned how to “bird,” I found yet another way to walk, a way where my tinkering mind quieted, and I could hold each present moment, lingering in the forest, in the meadow, by the wetland, with my binoculars fixed to my eyes, watching wild birds do their secret magic of flying, full of hollow bones, covered in a quilt of feathers.

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Louisville Group Spends Weekend Kayaking and Camping in LBL Backcountry

As the sun began to sink below the horizon, we packed up our gear. We wished them well for the long evening ahead and for the last leg of their trip. Their exhausted smiles will forever be etched in my memory. Smiles that only come from contentment from an excellent day on the river with friends. Perhaps by the time they return, we’ll have larger kayaks ourselves. And we’ll be strong enough to keep up with their speed. If not, we’ll offer them trail magic again, and find a few more lessons learned.

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Jones-Keeney Wildlife Management Area Group Hike

About a quarter mile down the trail we cross Buttercup Hill, which is just past peak bloom. We turn right down a side path to our first point of interest, Jones-Keeney Natural Bridge which is only about ten feet high at the top with an arch. Ducking under the rock slab, Shara shows us the chamber behind the arch which is backed by a 15-foot rock wall with a small waterfall and a couple of cairns left by previous hikers.  Mosses and ferns cover many of the rock faces. The place is magical. 

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Changing Our equilibrium, One Hike At A Time

You might notice, that I mentioned earlier, that I had a chance at changing my own equilibrium. I have changed. I have Melinda Walker and EKI Director's Gerry James to thank for it.   You see when I started BeintheWater my intentions were to inspire people and to help make changes in our community.  I fell prey to my own comfort zone issues.  You see, I felt like if I couldn't create a huge event or undertaking, that it wasn't worthy of the effort. I wasn't heeding my own advice. I wanted the mountain in one big step. I had forgotten my own personal motto. "Be Water, Matthew. Be Water."   I needed to focus on the raindrops and not worry about where the river merged with the ocean. 

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A Shared Oasis: World-class rock climbing debuts at The Breaks Interstate Park

I took what I’d call a reconnaissance trip to The Breaks in 2012. I wanted to look at it with my new climber’s perspective, and I was thrilled with what I found. Several sport routes had already been developed. Assuming (generally a bad idea) that climbing was permitted, I got a crew of Lexington climbers together to explore the new territory. That’s when I met Austin Bradley.

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