Tony Trapizona Rides the New Mine-Made Paradise Park OHV in Knott County, KY
April 29, 2010
By Tony Trapizona
Photos by Fonzie
When we first rolled up to the paved parking area of the ride spot I could tell the folks behind this new park were serious about doing things right. Then I saw not one but two Kawasaki semis in the distance. It was obvious that and Kawasaki was just as committed. This would be one epic ride adventure.
Enter Bill Reed
Bill Reed is the President of the Off-Road Division of Strategic Advantage Marketing. They are a multifaceted company that specializes in building economic diversity through adventure tourism. After much success with his last assignment, the legendary Hatfield McCoy system in West Virginia, Bill is now in charge of building a similar success story in Kentucky. The Paradise Park trail system, deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, is currently a work in progress project. Thanks to Kawasaki we were the first to ride the beautiful Kentucky terrain that awaited us. Soon some 300 miles of multi use trails will be available for OHV, non-motorized and equestrian riders. The Mine-Made Paradise Park trail is slated to have a soft opening in the Fall of 2010 and a grand opening in April, 2011. In addition to the Mine-Made Paradise Park trail system, which also features an impressive ATV and motorcycle riding training center, (one of only five in the US) there are three additional trailheads that make up the Paradise Park ATV wonderland. Fire Trail, Brushee Fork Trail and Red Fox Trail, all are slated to open by 2012.
Don't plan on riding all of these trails without staying overnight for a few days. It will take you 4-6 hours to ride the 50 mile Mine-Made trail alone. Combined there are a whopping 43,000 acres of privately owned land to discover. There will be campgrounds and cabins to rent in the near future as well.
Sounds impressive doesn't it? Wait until you hear about my experience out on the trails. Trust me, if you're anywhere near Kentucky you're going to want to come ride the professionally designed and well marked trail system.
Let 'er rip!
The first machine I rode was the Kawasaki Brute Force 650 4X4. I have always heard great things about it, so I wanted to try it out and see what all the hype was about. Being mainly a sport quad rider, I was really impressed with how this big bad 4x4 handled whatever I put in front of it. The machine felt like a sport quad with its straight axle, and as a sport rider I really liked this over an IRS ute for my first ride. The 650 was a blast on the wide open trails, This is something I didn't think I would be doing on a 4x4. It's low center of gravitty, wide stance and throaty power allows a really stable ride, so it's especially fun through the turns. It was so much fun pitching it sideways through the corners.
After tearing through many open trails, we ventured into the woods. Let me tell you the terrain and ride was outstanding! It was the kind of terrain that diehard 4x4 quad riders dream of. The trail wound its way through reclaimed coal mining areas (hence the name "Mine-Made"), through logging roads, several forest areas, along creeks and rivers and more. We were told to be on the lookout for elk, but I didn't see any in my journey. In the adventure we discovered several water crossings, small mud holes and rocky hill climbs and descents. I had a complete blast flying through the trails and blasting my way through whatever awaited me around the next turn! The one thing that I noticed the most was the great elevation changes that this placed seemed to have throughout. If you like your trail to have plenty of challenging sections along the way, you're going to love the all-new Paradise Park, be sure to make your way through Trail #1, otherwise known as the Mine-Made Trail. This ride was just flat-out fun, and I had no problem conquering the terrain on the mighty Brute Force 650 4X4. Even with the 650 being a straight axle quad, I didn't seem to have any issues with ground clearance, even in the rocky areas. The suspension soaked up everything that I threw at it with ease.