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    Cumberland Gap

    National Historical Park KY,TN,VA

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  • 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 »

  • 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.

Prescribed Fire Season at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

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Date: February 14, 2013
Contact: Dirk Wiley, (606) 248-2817, extension 1070

Park Plans to Burn 386 Acres Near Tiprell, Tennessee

As part of a program to use "managed fire" inside the park, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will be burning 286 acres near Tiprell, Tennessee in mid to late February. The goal is to reduce hazardous fuels near the town, and also to help maintain the type of historic forest found by Daniel Boone and Thomas Walker when they first arrived in the area.

"Managed fire," explained Chief Ranger Dirk Wiley, "is just another tool to help protect the park and our neighbors. It lets us burn a little, under very controlled conditions, so that we prevent a larger fire from threatening the park and nearby homes."

It sounds simple, but involves a complicated "prescription" that accounts for wind, fuel moisture, slope and sunshine, the spread of the smoke, and the effect of the fire on the existing plants. By carefully lighting the understory, the goal is to reduce the small fuels that can build up and create uncontrollable wildfires during dry periods. It also has the benefit of maintaining a forest that developed over thousands of years of fires set by Native Americans as part of their own desire to improve hunting.

The Tiprell fire will cover most of the hillside between Tiprell and the top of the ridge separating the park and Lincoln Memorial University. If all goes as planned, it will be done in one long day and the final result will be a subtle, but significant, reduction in both the fuels that carry fire and certain species of trees such as striped maple.

Park Ranger Shane Sturgill, "burn boss" for the fire, details that a successful prescribed fire will be almost invisible just a few months after the actual fire is gone. "It's not a raging fire," said Sturgill. "It's the kind of creeping ground fire that passes through the forest naturally."

The park will be notifying neighbors and nearby agencies on the day of the burn, and wants to make certain that nobody is alarmed by a sudden column of smoke inside the park. "It's just another day in the park," said Sturgill. "We're using fire as a tool to take care of the resources, the visitors, and our park neighbors."

The park encourages anyone with questions to contact Chief Ranger Dirk Wiley at (606) 246-1054, or email dirk_wiley@nps.gov

More information on fire management at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park...

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.