• fog flows through Cumberland Gap

    Cumberland Gap

    National Historical Park KY,TN,VA

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  • Cave Tour Alert!

    White Nose Syndrome is a disease that is killing bats in great numbers and has been found in park caves. While visiting Gap Cave please do not wear or bring anything that has been in other caves. Skylight Cave is currently closed.

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Fern Lake Land Acquisition


Fern Lake

NPS Photo

As a result of the Fern Lake Conservation and Recreation Act in 2001, the park was authorized to complete one of its' original goals; the protection of the Fern Lake Watershed. The 4,500 acre area provides both a scenic view from the park's most visited point, the Pinnacle Overlook, and also provides clean drinking water to the nearby city of Middlesboro, Kentucky. The protection of the watershed was a "win-win" for everyone in the Tri-State area, and work immediately began to actually purchase the lands.

Park Ranger marks boundary near Fern Lake

Park Ranger marks boundary near Fern Lake

NPS Photo

The first two phases (1,850 acres) were completed in the Spring of 2008, and involved the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) purchasing the land from Ataya Hardwoods, and then transferring the land to the National Park Service using money from the land and Water Conservation Fund.

Phase III (1,268 acres encompassing the headwaters) was finalized in January of 2009 through a similar, cooperative effort with Molpus Woodlands Group, and a fourth phase involving 905 acres from Molpus was completed in the spring of 2009.

map of fern lake land acquisition (11.17 mb)

This new acquisition of lands around Fern Lake increased the park acreage by approximately 20 percent!

The result is the permanent protection of the watershed and the viewshed for the public, and the addition of a new portion of the park for visitor to explore.

Did You Know?

Gap Cave

Gap Cave has also been called: King Solomon's Cave, Soldier's Cave, and Cudjo's Cave! The cave was originally referred to as "Gap Cave" because of its proximity to the Gap. When early pioneers saw the cave they knew they were about to cross the mountains into the wilderness of Kentucky.