• fog flows through Cumberland Gap

    Cumberland Gap

    National Historical Park KY,TN,VA

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  • Cumberland Gap Tip Line

    Help protect your national park! Report any crimes or suspicious activity including damage or theft of park resources. More »

  • No Cave Tours or Hensley Tours on September 27

    There will be no Gap Cave or Hensley Settlement tours offered on September 27, 2014 due to special Heritage Walk program. For more information please call the park visitor center at (606) 248-2817, extension 1075.

  • Sugar Run Trail Closed to Horses

    The Sugar Run Trail is temporarily closed to horse use due to the number of fallen trees as a result of recent storms. The trail is still open for hikers, but hikers should use caution.

  • Back the Bears!

    Support the park's "Back the Bears" campaign and help keep our bears wild and safe! More »

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?

Brigadier General Felix Zollicoffer

Civil War buffs will appreciate the fact that the famous Confederate Brigadier General Felix Zollicoffer personally supervised the construction of the earthen fortifications at Cumberland Gap.