GREENBO LAKE STATE RESORT PARK —
Cary Lyle describes his last days as manager of Greenbo Lake State Resort Park in the same way he describes his early days on the job.
“It’s exciting, challenging, and rewarding,” he said. “The park itself is wonderful, and the community is filled with people who are interested in and supportive of the park.”
“It was my dream job,” he said of his 12-year run, which ended on Thursday. “There is always difficulty in implementing the changes that we see as needing to be made, and to move the park along in the right direction, but the rewards far outweigh the difficulties. I feel blessed and think that it was the plan all along, like I was led here by the man upstairs.”
During his job interview process, Lyle said he had discussed some of the changes he felt needed implemented, and the direction in which he thought the park should go. The vast natural resources and the community interest that had been exhibited from the very beginning was proof to him that Greenup County had one of the best parks in the Kentucky state park system.
He said he also knew that Greenbo was poised to be the park people would travel from across the country and beyond to visit.
But his desire to be at the park began long before the interview, and his applying for the job wasn’t simply the desire for a new position. Years before Lyle became manager, he was working for the Department of Veteran Affairs and returned to the area for a family reunion.
“Greenbo is the place I want to be,” he told family members. “It’s where I want to manage and where I want to retire.”
And it wasn’t that Lyle was dissatisfied with his position at VA.
“It was the most rewarding job I have ever had, because I got to serve the men and women who had served the rest of the country,” he said.
But, the lure of the area he found so beautiful and filled with such potential was more than he could resist.
“At 3,300 acres, Greenbo is one of the largest parks in the system, and we still haven’t reached its full potential. But, we have made great strides toward realizing that potential,” he said.
The growth toward fulfilling that potential, Lyle said, is directly due to the support of the community as well as state and local government. “I have always tried to stay in touch with the community and keep in mind what they wanted for the park,” he said.
He also credits being able to talk with people like Ross Simpson — a member of the original group that began the process that established the park — with giving him a first-hand idea of what direction the founders of Greenbo intended. Bringing all of those factors together and justifying them with each other to keep the park not only viable, but healthy and vibrant as well, was a challenge Lyle found deeply gratifying.
The ability to bring the various resources, needs and desires together was one of the things that marked Lyle’s tenure at Greenbo.
“I was not a micro-manager. I have tried to provide the expectations, direction, and goals. But, I believe in bringing together the best people to get a job done, support them in any way I can, and then let them do what they are good at. However much I might want to, or be willing to, I know that I can’t do everything,” he said with a smile.
The government support that Greenbo has received, he says, is unprecedented. The park has enjoyed the support of the local government figures like Greenup Judge-Executive Bobby Carpenter as well as that of Rep. Tanya Pullin and Sen. Robin Webb at the state level in facilitating improvements such as the new horse trails, the park amphitheater and campground upgrade.
Without that support, the changes the park has made would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, Lyle said.
Greenup Tourism Director Bobby Allen has also been extremely helpful to the park, Lyle said, adding The Friends of Greenbo group has also been instrumental in many ways, including the establishing of the scuba area at the park.
“I am very gratefully to everyone from the government down to the people who come and use the park,” Lyle said.
While grateful for being able to live his dream for over a decade, Lyle said now he feels that it is time to begin a new phase of his life.
“I plan on spending a lot of time becoming a better father and a better husband, but I plan on staying active with the friends group and other things,” he said.
Lyle said he had “no doubt” that Greenbo will be able to get along “just fine” without him.
“They are all great people, and they are very competent,” he said. “But, if they would happen to need anything before my successor comes in, then all they have to do is call.”