SLADE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Visitors come from all over the world to see Red River Gorge. Neither the pandemic nor winter storms have slowed that momentum.
"People that have never been here that live in Lexington, Louisville, or surrounding areas are coming here for outdoor adventure because it's safe at this time," said Miranda Fallen, Powell County Tourism executive director.
This time last year, Nancy Hamann's businesses were shut down due to restrictions on Gorge visitors. One year later, the Daniel Boone Coffee Shop and adjacent cabin rental company are thriving. But the success has brought on a new problem.
"It's just been hard finding workers now," said Hamann. "It's so crowded on the weekends with people coming so we really have to have people available then. So sometimes we have to shut down some days during the week."
The Daniel Boone Coffee Shop is currently hiring for several positions.
"Well we're looking for cooks, baristas, coffee shop, deli workers, people to do sales," said Hamann.
Right near the Slade exit, Five Star Cabin Rentals is also looking for help.
"Maintenance, maintenance people. Anybody looking to clean cabins and also office work here and there," said Zac Sells with the company.
Sells and his team took over management last June as hikers and campers were returning. He says they've seen the number of expected visitors triple in that time.
"Yeah for business it's great and it's great for the area. Unfortunately, we have struggled a bit keeping up with the demand," said Sells.
Miranda Fallen says she's excited for the future of the Gorge which is rapidly graduating from a seasonal attraction to a year-round destination. If you're interested, Fallen says you can be paid to stay even longer.
"If you enjoy this area, you can share that love with people every day," said Fallen.
If you're visiting, there are still some roads around the Gorge closed due to last month's flood. Fallen recommends looking online for the best route to get to where you want to go.
She also says you should look up when businesses are open as hours and days can fluctuate due to available staffing.