When people think of the city of Berea, they often think of several of the city's staples, such as Berea College, historic Boone Tavern and the extensive art community.

One thing sure to be brought up when talking about the small craft town is the Berea Pinnacles, the popular hiking and lookout spot.

Tuesday night, the Berea City Council heard just how popular the trail is and its importance to the local economy through an economic impact study conducted by students of Berea College along with Louisa Summers, a professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance.

With the help of infrared trail counters set up at the entrance of the Pinnacles, students tracked the number of people that visited the trail for a period of a year.

For 2018, the group counted around 48,895 people who visited, with about 52% of them being female and 48% male according to a survey they conducted.

Of those, they found that 85% of hikers were not residents of the area and 15% are.

According to the economic impact study for 2018, out-of-state-hikers spent around $105,349, in-state visitors spent $370,702 and those visiting from Lexington and Richmond spent $162,967 for a total of around $693,000.

"We encourage tourism to create new opportunities for enticing in-state hikers to dine in Berea as they spend the most money here based on our study," she said.

The study also found that there were several areas that could be approved upon, and those were that the Pinnacles themselves were hard to find, there was limited online information about the trails and that there was no navigation once on the trail, and many found themselves lost.

• • •

The Berea City Council heard from Martina Laforce, a representative of the Berea Kids Eat Program at Berea College, who gave an update about the Berea Junior Farmers Market.

Berea Kids Eat Program, in partnership with the Berea Parks Board and the Berea Farmers Market, developed a youth market for kids and teens 16 and younger to encourage youth entrepreneurship and participate in the local food economy as both an entrepreneur and consumer by selling their own products and crafts.

Laforce said this program allows the opportunity for youth to connect with theory with actions.

"They learn all of this stuff in school like math. It would be really nice if they learn how to count money, or how to balance a budget, and where a lot of schools don't have a home economics, or those skills get lost during the summer, it is a nice way to get them out there and running them themselves," she said.

Kids and teens interested can apply to be a vendor through an online application on the group's Facebook page or at the Berea Farmers Market website.

The Junior Farmers Market is held every fourth Saturday of June, July, August and September from 3 to 6 p.m. at Memorial Park in Berea.

The next Berea City Council meeting will be July 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Berea Municipal Building.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.

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