Kentucky, officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Kentucky is one of four U. S. states constituted as a commonwealth, originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th most extensive and the 26th most populous of the 50 United States, Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State, a nickname based on the bluegrass found in many of its pastures due to the fertile soil. One of the regions in Kentucky is the Bluegrass Region in central Kentucky. In 1776, the counties of Virginia beyond the Appalachian Mountains became known as Kentucky County, the precise etymology of the name is uncertain, but likely based on an Iroquoian name meaning the meadow or the prairie. Kentucky is situated in the Upland South, a significant portion of eastern Kentucky is part of Appalachia. Kentucky borders seven states, from the Midwest and the Southeast, West Virginia lies to the east, Virginia to the southeast, Tennessee to the south, Missouri to the west and Indiana to the northwest, and Ohio to the north and northeast.
Only Missouri and Tennessee, both of which border eight states, touch more, Kentuckys northern border is formed by the Ohio River and its western border by the Mississippi River. The official state borders are based on the courses of the rivers as they existed when Kentucky became a state in 1792, for instance, northbound travelers on U. S.41 from Henderson, after crossing the Ohio River, will be in Kentucky for about two miles. Ellis Park, a racetrack, is located in this small piece of Kentucky. Waterworks Road is part of the land border between Indiana and Kentucky. Kentucky has a part known as Kentucky Bend, at the far west corner of the state. It exists as an exclave surrounded completely by Missouri and Tennessee, Road access to this small part of Kentucky on the Mississippi River requires a trip through Tennessee. The epicenter of the powerful 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes was near this area, much of the outer Bluegrass is in the Eden Shale Hills area, made up of short and very narrow hills.
The Jackson Purchase and western Pennyrile are home to several bald cypress/tupelo swamps, located within the southeastern interior portion of North America, Kentucky has a climate that can best be described as a humid subtropical climate. Temperatures in Kentucky usually range from daytime summer highs of 87 °F to the low of 23 °F. The average precipitation is 46 inches a year, Kentucky experiences four distinct seasons, with substantial variations in the severity of summer and winter. The highest recorded temperature was 114 °F at Greensburg on July 28,1930 while the lowest recorded temperature was −37 °F at Shelbyville on January 19,1994, due to its location, Kentucky has a moderate humid subtropical climate, with abundant rainfall
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park is a U. S. national park in central Kentucky, encompassing portions of Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world. Since the 1972 unification of Mammoth Cave with the system under Flint Ridge to the north. The park was established as a park on July 1,1941. It became a World Heritage Site on October 27,1981, the parks 52,830 acres are located primarily in Edmonson County, with small areas extending eastward into Hart County and Barren County. It is centered on the Green River, with a tributary, with 405 miles of surveyed passageways Mammoth Cave is by far the worlds longest known cave system, being over twice as long as the second-longest cave system, Mexicos Sac Actun underwater cave. Mammoth Cave developed in thick Mississippian-aged limestone strata capped by a layer of sandstone and it is known to include more than 390 miles of passageway, new discoveries and connections add several miles to this figure each year. Mammoth Cave National Park was established to preserve the cave system, the epikarstic zone concentrates local flows of runoff into high-elevation springs which emerge at the edges of ridges.
It is in underlying massive limestone layers that the human-explorable caves of the region have naturally developed. The limestone layers of the column beneath the Big Clifty, in increasing order of depth below the ridgetops, are the Girkin Formation. Genevieve Limestone, and the St. Louis Limestone, for example, the large Main Cave passage seen on the Historic Tour is located at the bottom of the Girkin and the top of the Ste. Each of the layers of limestone is divided further into named geological units and subunits. One area of research involves correlating the stratigraphy with the cave survey produced by explorers. This makes it possible to produce approximate three-dimensional maps of the contours of the layer boundaries without the necessity for test wells. The upper sandstone caprock is relatively hard for water to penetrate, the sandstone caprock layer has been dissolved and eroded at many locations within the park, such as the Frozen Niagara room. At one valley bottom in the region of the park.
Known as Cedar Sink, the features a small river entering one side. Mammoth Cave is home to the endangered Kentucky cave shrimp, a sightless albino shrimp, the National Park Service offers several cave tours to visitors. Some notable features of the cave, such as Grand Avenue, Frozen Niagara, two tours, lit only by visitor-carried paraffin lamps, are popular alternatives to the electric-lit routes
United States National Forest
National Forest is a classification of protected and managed federal lands in the United States. The National Forest System was created by the Land Revision Act of 1891, abbot Kinney and forester Theodore Lukens were key spokesmen for the effort. In the United States there are 155 National Forests containing almost 190 million acres of land and these lands comprise 8.5 percent of the total land area of the United States, an area about the size of Texas. Some 87 percent of National Forest land lies west of the Mississippi River in the ranges of the Western United States. Alaska has 12 percent of all National Forest lands, the U. S. Forest Service manages all of the United States National Grasslands, and around half of the United States National Recreation Areas. There are two different types of forests within the National Forest system. Those east of the Great Plains in the Midwestern and Eastern United States were primarily acquired by the government since 1891. The land had long been in the domain and sometimes repeatedly logged since colonial times.
These are mostly lands that were kept in the domain, with the exception of inholdings. Land management of these areas focuses on conservation, timber harvesting, livestock grazing, watershed protection, unlike national parks and other federal lands managed by the National Park Service, extraction of natural resources from national forests is permitted, and in many cases encouraged. National Forests are categorized by the U. S. as IUCN Category VI protected areas, the first-designated wilderness areas, and some of the largest, are on National Forest lands. There are management decision conflicts between conservationists and environmentalists, and natural resource extraction companies and lobbies, over the protection and/or use of National Forest lands, many ski resorts and summer resorts operate on leased land in National Forests
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Established on June 11,1940, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park located at the border between Kentucky and Virginia. The Cumberland Gap is a natural break in the Appalachian Mountains. The park lies in parts of Bell and Harlan counties in Kentucky, Claiborne County in Tennessee, the park contains the Kentucky-Virginia-Tennessee tri-state area, accessible via a short trail. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park covers 20,508 acres, the Cumberland Gap Visitor Center is located on U. S. Highway 25E just southeast of Middlesboro and just northwest of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel and Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. The visitor center is open day of the year except Christmas Day. The gap was used by Native Americans, as many species of migratory animals passed through it from north to south each year. It was fertile hunting territory and the only cut through the mountains from the southern wintering grounds of wild deer. Starting around 1775, the Gap became the route of transit for American settlers moving west into Kentucky.
Two families by the name of Hensley and Gibbons moved to Brush Mountain to escape the many changes that were taking place in the early 1900s, more family members followed and a community was begun. A church and school was established under the jurisdiction of the Bell County School System of Bell County, settlers continued their pioneer lifestyle until future generations began accepting employment and marriage partners off the mountain. Sherman Hensley, the founder of the settlement, was the last to leave in 1951, the park preserves the natural beauty of the surrounding area while focusing on historic preservation. The former roadbed of U. S. Highway 25E through the park has been restored to an early 19th-century wagon path and this was made possible with the 1996 completion of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel, which rerouted US 25E under the park
The muskellunge, known as muskelunge, milliganong, or maskinonge, is a species of large, relatively uncommon freshwater fish native to North America. The muskellunge is the largest member of the family, Esocidae. The common name comes from the Ojibwa word maashkinoozhe, meaning ugly pike, by way of French masque allongé, the French common name is masquinongé or maskinongé. Muskellunge closely resemble other esocids such as the pike and American pickerel in both appearance and behavior. Like the northern pike and other aggressive pikes, the plan is typical of ambush predators with an elongated body, flat head. Muskellunge are typically 28–48 in long and weigh 15–36 lb, though some have reached up to 6 ft, according to past references the muskellunge attains 8 feet in length, this however has never been confirmed and is based most likely on exaggerations. A fish with a weight of 61.25 lb was caught in November 2000 in Georgian Bay, the fish are a light silver, brown, or green, with dark vertical stripes on the flank, which may tend to break up into spots.
In some cases, markings may be absent altogether, especially in fish from turbid waters and this is in contrast to northern pike, which have dark bodies with light markings. A reliable method to distinguish the two species is by counting the sensory pores on the underside of the mandible. A muskie will have seven or more per side, while the northern pike never has more than six, the lobes of the caudal fin in muskellunge come to a sharper point, while those of northern pike are more generally rounded. In addition, unlike pike, muskies have no scales on the half of their opercula. Also, a population is found in the Broad River in South Carolina. Several North Georgia reservoirs have healthy stocked populations of muskie and they are found in the Red River drainage of the Hudson Bay basin. Muskie were introduced to western Saint John River in the late 1960s and have now spread to many connecting waterways in northern Maine and they prefer clear waters where they lurk along weed edges, rock outcrops, or other structures to rest. A fish forms two distinct home ranges in summer, a range and a deeper one.
The shallow range is much smaller than the deeper range due to shallow water heating up. A muskie continually patrols the ranges in search of food in the appropriate conditions of water temperature. Most of their diets consist of fish, but can include crayfish, ducklings, muskrats, other small mammals, the mouth is large with many long, needle-like teeth
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area preserves the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries in northeastern Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky. In addition, the mining community of Blue Heron is preserved and interpreted via signage. Charit Creek Lodge is a lodge, accessible by trail. The Big South Forks most prominent feature is the river cutting through the softer Mississippian age rock beneath the hard Pennsylvanian capstone of the Cumberland Plateau. Water is the most influential agent of change in the Big South Fork region. Over time water action has many unique and amazing geologic features ranging from the river gorge with its magnificent bluffs to the natural arches. Flowing water hollows out the softer layers beneath and forms waterfalls, where there is hard capstone intact, arches can form creating natural bridges across streams or a dry ravines. Direct erosion widens a joint and forms a cavity below the more resilient rock thus creating a void between the hard capstone and the area below, as result, water eroded arches are formed in the Big South Fork.
Hoodoos are a rare but intriguing feature occurring in the Big South Fork and these hoodoos form in a similar manner to those found in the western United States. Where tough capstone still exists on the side of a hill for instance, the result is a naturally formed erect columnar rock where once was located a hill
Natural Bridge State Resort Park
Its namesake natural bridge is the centerpiece of the park. The natural sandstone arch spans 78 ft and is 65 ft high, the natural process of weathering formed the arch over millions of years. The park is approximately 2,300 acres of which approximately 1,200 acres is dedicated by the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission as a nature preserve, in 1981 this land was dedicated into the nature preserves system to protect the ecological communities and rare species habitat. The first federally endangered Virginia big eared bats, Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus, the park was founded as a private tourist attraction in 1895 by the Lexington and Eastern Railroad. In 1910, Louisville and Nashville Railroad acquired the land when it purchased the Lexingon, there are over 20 miles of trails over uneven terrain from moderate to strenuous difficulty, including trails to Whites Branch Arch, Hensons Cave Arch, and other scenic areas. Some of the most famous sites are the arch itself, Lovers Leap, the parks 0.
5-mile Original Trail to the natural bridge dates from the 1890s. Other trails include the 7. 5-mile Sand Gap Trail and the 0. 75-mile Balanced Rock Trail, five miles of the 307-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail run through the park, including the Whittleton Trail which connects the park to the Red River Gorge Geologic Area. Activities such as hiking off-trails, disturbing wildlife, or collecting plants are not legal in any Kentucky State Park, Fat Mans Squeeze, a narrow passage in the rock formation, leads to the bottom of the arch. Natural Bridge has several unique sandstone formations, including the Balanced Rock. This is a block of sandstone balanced on the edge of a cliff near the Natural Bridge. The Balanced Rock, is located on Trail #2, not far above Hemlock Lodge, in the early days of the Park, it was called the Sphinx because, when viewed from the correct angle, it crudely resembles the Sphinx in Egypt. Although it is now called the Balanced Rock, it is in fact a pedestal rock - a single piece of stone that has weathered in such a fashion that its midsection is narrower than its cap or its base.
This formation is one of the biggest and most perfectly formed examples of a pedestal rock east of the Rocky Mountains, Natural Bridge State Park is a member of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and offers guided backpacking trips and natural history educational programs. Annual events open to the public include Herpetology Weekend each May, Natural Arches Weekend each February, the Kentucky Natives Societys Wildflower Weekend in April consists of Kentucky plants and how they are essential to the well-being of our natural ecosystems commonwealth. We incorporate research and support efforts to identify and protect endangered, the State Park is famous for hosting traditional Appalachian square dances. The traditional Appalachian style dances are held on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the warm starlit Ky summers on the dance floor. The dance draws hundreds of participants and spectators, showcasing dance groups and singer/performer talents from all over
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park is a park located near Mount Olivet, Kentucky in Robertson and Nicholas counties. The park encompasses 148 acres and features a monument commemorating the August 19,1782 Battle of Blue Licks, the battle was regarded as the final battle of the American Revolutionary War. The earliest accounts of Blue Licks describe it as a place where animals gathered to lick the salt deposits flowing from the springs in the area. The Reverend James Smith provides this account in his 1795–97 diary, As you approach the Licks, at the distance of 4 or 5 miles from it, you begin to perceive the change. Here immense herds of buffalo used formerly to meet and with their fighting, scraping etc. have worn away the ground to what it is at present, in 1782, British Captain William Caldwell led a force of Indians against the small Kentucky settlement of Bryans Station. Caldwell met stiff resistance, and after two days, retreated toward the Ohio River, in the battle that followed,60 of the 176 men who followed McGary were killed, Boones son Israel among them.
Reinforcements under George Rogers Clark eventually arrived and drove Caldwells forces from Kentucky for good, by the mid-19th century, the Blue Licks area had become a health resort, due in large part to the nearby saltwater springs that had been used for salt making since the 1770s. The mineral water found in the springs was rumored to cure everything from asthma to gout, by 1896, the areas last spring had gone dry. Efforts to locate another spring unearthed several geological and historical artifacts, a more extensive excavation of the area was conducted in 1945. However, a team from Morehead State University is to search the battlefield using modern equipment to explore for artifacts relating to the battlefields, enough success in this endeavor could mean the return of the battlefield to the Register. The park is located along the Licking River, and offers canoeing and fishing, the Licking River Trail offers a one-mile hike along the riverbank. Overnight stays are accommodated at the 32-room lodge or the 51-site campground, the park features a 15-acre nature preserve containing a cedar glade.
This glade was previously maintained as an area by the large numbers of herbivores, such as bison, elk. Today much of the glade has transitioned into forest, but the remnant areas are being maintained by controlled burns and these remnants are home to the federally endangered Shorts goldenrod and the state threatened Great Plains Ladies-tresses. The Pioneer Museum is the major attraction. It houses a variety of artifacts, from a tooth found during an excavation of the site to relics from the American Civil War. Exhibits focus on the natural and cultural history, including prehistoric animals and fossils, area Native Americans and 18th century pioneers. The museum was dedicated in 1931, saw renovations completed in 2007, the Battle of Blue Licks celebration is held annually in mid-August and features a re-enactment of the Battle of Blue Licks
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are U. S. National Forests that combine to form one of the largest areas of public land in the Eastern United States. They cover 1.8 million acres of land in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, approximately 1 million acres of the forest are remote and undeveloped and 139,461 acres have been designated as wilderness areas, which eliminates future development. George Washington National Forest was established on May 16,1918 as the Shenandoah National Forest, the forest was renamed after the first President on June 28,1932. Natural Bridge National Forest was added on July 22,1933, Jefferson National Forest was formed on April 21,1936 by combining portions of the Unaka and George Washington National Forests with other land. In 1995, the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests were administratively combined, the border between the two forests roughly follows the James River. The combined forest is administered from its headquarters in Roanoke, the northern portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is separately administered by the National Park Service, runs through the Forest.
Over 2,000 miles of hiking trails, including segments of the Appalachian Trail, virginias highest point, Mount Rogers, is located in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area that is part of the forest. Other notable mountains include Elliott Knob, which has one of the last remaining fire towers in the eastern U. S. Approximately 230,000 acres of old-growth forests, the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River, Breaks Interstate Park, is located in the forest. Roaring Run Furnace is the site on the National Register of Historic Places owned by the Jefferson National Forest. The Forests vast and mountainous terrain harbors a variety of plant life—over 50 species of trees and over 2,000 species of shrubs. The Forests contain some 230,000 acres of old growth forests, the Ramseys Draft and Kimberling Creek Wildernesses in particular are mostly old-growth. The black bear is relatively common, enough so there is a short hunting season to prevent overpopulation. White-tailed deer, bald eagles, otter, the forests are popular hiking, mountain biking, and hunting destinations.
The Appalachian Trail extends for 330 miles from the end of Shenandoah National Park through the forest. The forest is within a two-hour drive for over ten people and thus receives large numbers of visitors. The George Washington National Forest is a destination for trail runners. It is the location for several Ultramarathons, including the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 miler, the Old Dominion 100 miler, George Washington Forest is the venue for Nature Camp, a natural science education-oriented summer camp for youth
Fort Donelson National Battlefield
The commanders received national recognition for their victories in February 1862, as they were the first major Union successes of the war. This struck a blow to the Confederacy early in the war. The main portion of the park, in Dover, Fort Heiman, in nearby Calloway County, was a Confederate battery in the Battle of Fort Henry. The most vulnerable area in the Confederate defensive line in the Western Theater was the state of Kentucky, the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers were potential avenues for a Union invasion of the South through Kentucky and into Tennessee and beyond. Since Kentucky had declared neutrality, the Confederacy could not build defensive works within the state without risking alienating the local population, the local population in western Kentucky was pro-Confederate. Kentuckys westernmost congressional district elected a secessionist and Lincoln proclaimed it to be in rebellion and they surveyed possible sites along the Cumberland River, noting the high ridges and deep hollows near the Kentucky border.
In mid-May, on the west bank of the not far below Dover, Anderson laid out the water battery of Fort Donelson. The new fort was named in honor of the Confederate General Daniel S. Donelson who, along with Colonel Bushrod Johnson of the Corps of Engineers, construction was begun by a large force of men brought from the nearby Cumberland Iron Works. The site was established as Fort Donelson National Military Park on March 26,1928, the national military park and national cemetery were transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service on August 10,1933. The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15,1966 and it was redesignated a national battlefield on August 16,1985. Public Law 108-367 increased the authorized boundary of the battlefield from 551.69 acres to 2,000 acres. On October 30,2006, Calloway County transferred the Fort Heiman site to the Park Service, Fort Heiman had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 12,1976.
The Cumberland River was dammed in the 1960s, this area is referred to as Lake Barkley. It covers a roughly similar to the original river while at flood stage. The Fort Donelson National Cemetery, at 15.34 acres in Stewart County, contains 670 Union dead, there are numerous veterans from wars. The cemetery is presently unavailable for additional burials, washington, U. S. Department of the Interior. Where the South Lost the War, An Analysis of the Fort Henry—Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862, Stackpole books,2003, ISBN 0-8117-0049-6. NPS Fort Donelson National Battlefield site Public Law 108-367 U. S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System, Fort Donelson Fort Donelson National Cemetery at Find a Grave
Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park
Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park is a Kentucky state park located on the northern shore of Kentucky Lake in Marshall County. The park encompasses 1,351 acres and is one of the more popular resort parks. The park features a center, 18-hole golf course. The park received a rating from two diamonds to three diamonds from the American Automobile Association in 2007. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park received the upgraded rating, the two facilities were the first state resort parks to achieve the three-diamond rating following AAAs revision of its rating system in 2001