Year of Excitement at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Contact: Carol Borneman, (606) 248-2817
Upcoming March Weekend Programs Offer Festive Fun
Americans are packing up their cars and heading to their national parks and rightly so, for as writer Wallace Stegner declared in 1983 “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst." And visitors to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will discover an incredible array of programs choreographed to showcase the park’s rich mosaic of resources.
The weekend of March 27th and 28th provides a great sampling of programs in which visitors can immerse themselves. On Saturday, March 27th, Junior Ranger Pioneers will come face to face with Daniel Boone, the legendary figure who helped ignite the westward expansion through the Cumberland Gap. Daniel will share his stories of adventure, including the time he was taken captive by the Shawnee, and describe in great detail how he “began to mediate an escape.” And perhaps old Daniel will carry over his shoulder “Tick Licker” and boast of his marksmanship, bragging about how he could shoot a tick off an animal without hurting the beast, hence the naming of his trusty rifle. Young and old alike should meet at the park visitor center at 10:00 a.m.
National park fans will be treated to a Kentucky’s National Parks Movie Fest on Sunday, March 28th. In this Kentucky Life special with host Dave Shuffett, visitors will soar to the heights of Cumberland Gap and Big South Fork and descend to the depths of Mammoth Cave. Visitors will also learn how Kentucky played an important role in the history of our country along the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and at the Abraham Lincoln birthplace. Tasty movie morsels will be provided before the show which begins at 2:00 p.m. in the visitor center auditorium.
The excitement of the weekend continues into the evening of Monday, March 29th when park rangers offer a full moon hike into the historic Cumberland Gap. Park Naturalist Scott Teodorski explains “March brings with it the whispers of spring and the renewing of nature’s wondrous cycle. Should the night be warm, the calling of the mountain chorus frogs and spring peepers will be deafening. And a real treat would be hearing the call of the whipporwill. We’ll plan the hike so we will be approaching the saddle of the historic Gap as the moon rises above the mountains.” Full moon enthusiasts should meet at the Thomas Walker parking area at 8:00 p.m. and wear good walking shoes for the easy 1.2 mile round trip hike.
Superintendent Mark Woods extends a warm invitation to all to attend these free March weekend programs. “Programs being offered give numerous and diverse opportunities for visitors to make their own connections to park resources. The year has already begun on a grand note. In February, students from Middlesboro, KY impressed us with their knowledge of the underground railroad when they visited to attend an underground railroad program presented by Dr. Alicestyne Turley from the University of Louisville. And just recently, feet were tapping, bodies were swaying and hands were clapping in an almost filled to capacity visitor center auditorium when renowned mother-son team Sara Grey and Kieron Means performed a Scottish/Irish ballad concert. These are but a handful of programs being offered throughout the year.” Superintendent Woods offers a final reminder “This is your national park. Visit often and enjoy!”
For a copy of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park’s 2010 ranger-guided activity schedule, call 606-248-2817, extension 1075 or pick one up at the park visitor center. Program offerings and descriptions can also be found at www.nps.gov/cuga.
Did You Know?
Although Cumberland Gap is designated a national historical park, 14,000 of its 24,000 acres have been proposed, and are managed, as wilderness.