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Contact: Mark Woods, (606) 248-2817
July 4th, 2009 will certainly be a day of excitement at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park as neighboring communities, visitors, park partners and park staff join together in celebrating the park’s 50th anniversary. Highlights of the day will include a special recognition of local community members who were instrumental in the creation of the park; a recreation of the Parade of Flags with local youth, led by community member Albert Earle who led the parade 50 years ago; a performance by the 100th Army Band of Fort Knox, Kentucky; and the premiere of a short film using oral histories and historic photos from the park’s past 50 years. And for the first time in the park’s history, the “Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park” will be unveiled.
Superintendent Mark Woods explains that the park’s 50th anniversary is the perfect venue to present this newly formed park partner to all. “Well over 50 years ago, a cadre of individuals in the Tri-State area demonstrated great leadership, incredible determination, tremendous energy, and a deep passion for Cumberland Gap’s diversity of resources which culminated in the establishment of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. These same qualities were at the forefront 50 years ago during the park’s dedication. And now, 50 years later, these same attributes have become the building blocks in the founding of the Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (NHP) and are truly exemplified by Chairman John Brown of Middlesboro, KY, Vice-Chairman Britt Harris of Tazewell, TN, and Secretary/Treasurer Genell Bowen formerly of Lee County, VA but now residing in New Tazewell, TN.” Superintendent Woods further applauds the dedication of the Friends Group. “John Brown generously donated his legal services in the formation of the group, while Britt’s and Genell’s vision and enthusiasm catapulted the Friends Group into existence.”
Vice-Chairman Britt Harris enthusiastically shares the story of the birth of this new private non-profit park partner: “Genell Bowen and I were both participants in the 2008-2009 Claiborne County (TN) Leadership Program. All program participants truly believe in our community. A component of the Leadership Program was developing a project that would benefit the community. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is right in our own back yards. Many of us use the park on a daily or weekly basis. And for many of us, taking our out of town guests to the Pinnacle or walking the park trails are at the top of the list. We wanted to give something back. That something is in the Friends Group. Many Claiborne County Leadership participants and others are already volunteering in the park, assisting with trail maintenance and other park projects. The Friends Group is a formal commitment and will now allow us to assist the park in a variety of capacities, including providing for the donation of funds and services to Cumberland Gap. ”
The Friends Group Agreement spells out the group’s primary purposes as:
· Supporting memorable multi-cultural, multi-generational visitor experiences to the Park in partnership with surrounding communities;
· Serving as an ambassador to the Park and the Tri-State Region, promoting and enhancing understanding and appreciation of all facets of the Park;
· Supporting and fostering educational programs and research projects, including those that will improve students competence in science and technology;
· Encouraging healthy lifestyles through the fitness opportunities and recreational choices available at the Park and in the surrounding area.
Membership forms further outlining the group’s mission and membership tiers will be available during the park’s 50th anniversary celebration. Membership forms and additional information can also be requested through:
Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Inc.
c/o Hon. John L. Brown, Esq.
2116 Cumberland Ave
Middlesboro, KY 40965