Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park located at the border between Kentucky and Virginia, centered on the Cumberland Gap, a natural break in the Appalachian Mountains. The park lies in parts of Bell and Harlan counties in Kentucky, Claiborne County in Tennessee, Lee County in Virginia; the park contains the Kentucky-Virginia-Tennessee tri-state area, accessible via trail. 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 features a museum with interactive exhibits about the Gap's role as a transportation corridor, an auditorium that shows films about the area's cultural and natural history, a book store and the Cumberland Crafts gift shop with crafts from Appalachia. The park is among the largest national parks in the eastern United States; as of 2010, 14,091 acres of this was designated as Recommended Wilderness.
Elevation varies from a low of 1,100 feet to a high of 3,500 feet. The park runs along the Cumberland Mountains, stretching about 20 miles with an average width of 1.6 miles. The park straddles a tri-state area encompassing land from Kentucky and Virginia, it includes the area of the Wilderness Road running through the passage across the Cumberland Plateau and through the Cumberland Gap, an important geological feature that facilitated travel for American settlers and Native Americans. It includes 24 known cave features ranging in size from around 20 feet to more than 16 miles in length. There are a number of large cliff systems in the park, the most prominent of, the 500 feet cliffs of White Rocks, located in the eastern portion of the area. At the northeastern end, the park sits adjacent to the Sillalah Creek Wildlife Management Area and the Martin's Fork Wildlife Management Area and State Natural Area; the climate of the area is mild, with hot and humid summers and mild winters, an average annual temperature of 54 °F.
The park contains over 62 miles of streams. With the exception of one, Little Yellow Creek, all of these originate from within the park, with those to the north of the main ridge flowing into the Cumberland River, those to the south flowing into the Powell River. Overall water quality in the park is good to fair, with some areas falling below recommended pH levels due to natural causes, others exceeding recommended levels of microorganisms due to contamination from campgrounds; the area of the park is 97% forested and contains 970 species of vascular plants, 90 of which are classified as sensitive or rare species. These include 108 non-native species of plants, 31 considered to be aggressive invasive plants; the park is home to at least 145 species of birds, 40 species of mammals, including the near-threatened bat, Myotis sodalis. The streams in the park house around 27 species of fish, including Chrosomus cumberlandensis, federally listed as an endangered species. Additionally, surveys have identified at least 36 species of amphibians.
Ecosystems in the park are threatened by a number of insect infestations from non-native pest species, including Dendroctonus frontalis, Adelges tsugae. The species Agrilus planipennis and Lymantria dispar dispar represent imminent threats from surrounding areas. Business leaders from Middlesboro, Kentucky meeting in Cincinnati for the Appalachian Logging Conference, proposed a Lincoln National Park, centered around Fern Lake as early as 1922. However, two bills introduced into the Kentucky State Legislature the following year by State Congressman John Robison both failed. Attempts in 1929 sought to create memorials for Civil War battles fought in the area, failed. In 1938, the National Park Service agreed to support a park of if the lands were donated to form one, the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Association was created, sparking more unsuccessful attempts in Kentucky, passage of a bill in Virginia in 1939 that paved the way for federal authorization; the park was established on June 11, 1940 by Franklin Roosevelt in order to "commemorate the story of the first doorway of the west".
It was authorized by Congress to occupy an area not to exceed 50,000 acres. The surrounding states purchased and deeded the land of the park to the federal government in 1955, the official opening took place in 1959. In 1992 the park purchased the area surrounding Gap Cave, owned. By 1996, the park had undergone some $280 million in improvements, including construction of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel. Toward the southern end of the park lies Fern Lake, created by an earthen dam in 1890, which provides water to the nearby town of Middlesboro, Kentucky; the area surrounding the lake was purchased by the park in four phases following the passage of the Fern Lake Conservation and Recreation Act, increasing the overall size of the park by 20%: Phases I and II, 1,850 acres of land purchased in 2008 from Ataya Hardwoods by The Trust for Public Land and transferred to the park Phase III, 1,268 acres of land purchased in 2009 from Molpus Woodlands Group Phase IV, 905 acres of land purchased in 2009 from Molpus Woodlands GroupAs of 2010 there were plans to acquire an additional 600 acres of land surrounding the lake.
As of 2018 the park had an estimated $15 million in deferred maintenance. The park includes a visitor's center, renovated in 2004, which features a museum and auditorium, providing exhibits on the area
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, America's longest linear park, runs for 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it runs along the spine of the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain, part of the Appalachian Mountains. Its southern terminus is at U. S. 441 on the boundary between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, from which it travels north to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The roadway continues through Shenandoah as Skyline Drive, a similar scenic road, managed by a different National Park Service unit. Both Skyline Drive and the Virginia portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway are part of Virginia State Route 48, though this designation is not signed; the parkway has been the most visited unit of the National Park System every year since 1946 except three.
Land on either side of the road is owned and maintained by the National Park Service, in many places parkway land is bordered by United States Forest Service property. The parkway was on North Carolina's version of the America the Beautiful quarter in 2015. Begun during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the project was called the Appalachian Scenic Highway. Most construction was carried out by private contractors under federal contracts under an authorization by Harold L. Ickes in his role as federal public works administrator. Work began on September 1935, near Cumberland Knob in North Carolina. On June 30, 1936, Congress formally authorized the project as the Blue Ridge Parkway and placed it under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service; some work was carried out by various New Deal public works agencies. The Works Progress Administration did some roadway construction. Crews from the Emergency Relief Administration carried out landscape work and development of parkway recreation areas.
Personnel from four Civilian Conservation Corps camps worked on roadside cleanup, roadside plantings, grading slopes, improving adjacent fields and forest lands. During World War II, the CCC crews were replaced by conscientious objectors in the Civilian Public Service program; the parkway's construction created jobs in the region, but displaced many residents and created new rules and regulations for landowners, including requirements related to how farmers could transport crops. Residents could no longer build on their lands without permission, or develop land except for agricultural use, they were not permitted to use the parkway for any commercial travel but were required to transport equipment and materials on side roads. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians were affected by the parkway, built through their lands. From 1935 to 1940, they resisted giving up the right-of-way through the Qualla Boundary, they were successful in gaining more favorable terms from the U. S. government. The revised bill "specified the parkway route, assured the $40,000 payment for the tribe's land, required the state to build regular highway through the Soco Valley".
Cherokee leaders participated in the dedications. Construction of the parkway was complete by the end of 1966 with one notable exception; the 7.7-mile stretch including the Linn Cove Viaduct around Grandfather Mountain did not open until 1987. The project took over 52 years to complete. Flowering shrubs and wildflowers dominate the parkway in the spring, including rhododendrons and dogwoods, moving from valleys to mountains as the cold weather retreats. Smaller annuals and perennials such as the daisy and aster flower through the summer. Brilliant autumn foliage occurs in September on the mountaintops, descending to the valleys by in October. In early-to-middle October and middle to late April, all three seasons can be seen by looking down from the cold and windy parkway to the green and warm valleys below. October is dramatic, as the colored leaves stand out boldly and occur at the same time, unlike the flowers. Major trees include oak and tulip tree at lower elevations and buckeye and ash in the middle, turning into conifers such as fir and spruce at the highest elevations on the parkway.
Trees near ridges and passes are distorted and contorted by the wind, persistent rime ice is deposited by passing clouds in the winter. The Blue Ridge Parkway tunnels were constructed through the rock—one in Virginia and 25 in North Carolina. Sections of the parkway near the tunnels are closed in winter; because groundwater drips from above with freezing temperatures and a lack of sunlight, ice accumulates inside these locations despite above-freezing temperatures in the surrounding areas. The highest point on the parkway is 6,053 feet above sea level on Richland Balsam at milepost 431 and is closed from November to April because of inclement weather such as snow and freezing fog from low clouds; the parkway is carried across streams, railway ravines and cross roads by 168 bridges and six viaducts. The parkway runs from the southern terminus of Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive in Virginia at Rockfish Gap to U. S. Route 441 at Oconaluftee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Cherokee, North Carolina.
There is no fee for using the parkway.
Petersburg National Battlefield
Petersburg National Battlefield is a National Park Service unit preserving sites related to the American Civil War Siege of Petersburg. The Battlefield is centered on the city of Petersburg and includes outlying components in Hopewell, Prince George County, Dinwiddie County. Over 140,000 people visit the park annually. Petersburg National Battlefield is composed of three major units and an additional managed component. Located off Virginia Route 36 east of Petersburg, the Eastern Front Visitor Center is the main visitor contact station for the Battlefield. Here, visitors can view exhibits and movies about the Siege of Petersburg as well as view Battery #5, an important early site in the Siege; the park entrance fee is collected on the Eastern Front Visitor Center access road. After leaving the Visitor Center, one can begin their park tour. A motor tour route runs from Virginia Route 36 to US Route 301. Along the way, visitors can view sites such as The Crater. Located in Dinwiddie County about 14 miles southwest of downtown Petersburg, this unit contains the site of the Battle of Five Forks, which destroyed a sizable portion of the remaining Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.
Sometimes called the "Waterloo of the Confederacy," Five Forks helped set in motion a series of events that led to Robert E. Lee's subsequent surrender at Appomattox Court House. Sited next to the James River in Hopewell, City Point served as a major command and logistics hub for the Union Army during the Siege of Petersburg, it is located in the City Point Historic District. The 8.72-acre Poplar Grove National Cemetery is administered by Petersburg National Battlefield. Established as Petersburg National Military Park on 1926-07-03. Transferred from the War Department on 1933-08-10. Redesignated as Petersburg National Battlefield on 1962-08-24. Added to the National Register of Historic Places on 1966-10-15. Richmond National Battlefield Park, administering areas related to the Siege of Petersburg which are north of the James River and Appomattox River; the National Parks: Index 2001-2003. Washington: U. S. Department of the Interior. Official NPS website: Petersburg National Battlefield
United States National Cemetery System
The United States National Cemetery System is a system of 147 nationally important cemeteries in the United States. The authority to create military burial places came during the American Civil War, in an act passed by the U. S. Congress on July 17, 1862. By the end of 1862, 14 national cemeteries had been established. A national cemetery is a military cemetery containing the graves of U. S. military personnel and their spouses, but not so. The best known national cemetery is Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, outside Washington, D. C.. Some national cemeteries Arlington, contain the graves of important civilian leaders and other important national figures; some national cemeteries contain sections for Confederate soldiers. In addition to national cemeteries, there are state veteran cemeteries; the National Cemetery Administration of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs maintains 131 of the 147 national cemeteries as well as the Nationwide Gravesite Locator, which can be used to find burial locations of American military veterans.
The Department of the Army maintains two national cemeteries, Arlington National Cemetery and United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery, 39 other cemeteries across the United States under Army National Military Cemeteries. The National Park Service maintains 14 cemeteries associated with historic battlefields; the American Battle Monuments Commission, an independent agency, maintains 24 American military cemeteries and other memorials outside the United States. The first national cemeteries were set up after the United States Civil War by Edmund Burke Whitman. Congress passed a law to establish and protect national cemeteries in 1867. Final military honors are provided for qualified veterans by several volunteer details known as a Memorial Honor Detail upon request of family members through their choice of mortuaries handling the deceased's remains. Fort Leavenworth Military Prison Cemetery USVA emblems for headstones and markers List of military tombstone abbreviations Department of Veteran's Affairs, National Cemetery Administration Department of Veteran's Affairs, National Cemetery Administration
A National Parkway is a designation for a protected area in the United States. The designation is given to a protected corridor of surrounding parkland. National Parkways connect cultural or historic sites; the U. S. National Park Service manages the parkways; the first parkways in the United States were developed in the late 19th century by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Beatrix Farrand as roads segregated for pedestrians, bicyclists and horse carriages, such as the Eastern Parkway and Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, New York. The terminology "parkway" to define this type of road was coined by Calvert Vaux and Olmsted in their proposal to link city and suburban parks with "pleasure roads." Newer roads such as the Bidwell and Lincoln Parkways in Buffalo, New York, were designed for automobiles and are broad and divided by large landscaped central medians. Parkways can be the approach to large urban parks, such as the Mystic Valley Parkway to Boston Common in Boston; some separated express lanes from local lanes.
During the early 20th century, the meaning of the word was expanded to include controlled-access highways designed for recreational driving of automobiles with landscaping. These parkways provided scenic routes without at-grade intersections slow vehicles, or pedestrian traffic, their success led to more development however, expanding a city's boundaries limiting their recreational driving use. The Arroyo Seco Parkway between Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, California, is an example of lost pastoral aesthetics, it and others have become major commuting routes, while retaining the name parkway. In the 1930s, as part of the New Deal, the U. S. federal government constructed national parkways designed for recreational driving, to commemorate historic trails and routes. As with other roads through national parks, these undivided and two-lane parkways have lower speed limits, are maintained by the National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration jointly through the Federal Lands Transportation Program.
An example is the Civilian Conservation Corps-built Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Others are: Skyline Drive in Virginia; the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Clara Barton Parkway, running along the Potomac River near Washington, D. C. were constructed during this era. The Great River Road was envisioned as a National Parkway. List of United States federally maintained roads Scenic byways in the United States United States National Parkways travel guide from Wikivoyage
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail known as the Appalachian Trail or the A. T. is a marked hiking trail in the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail is about 2,200 miles long, though the exact length changes over time as parts are modified or rerouted; the Appalachian Trail Conservancy describes the Appalachian Trail as the longest hiking-only trail in the world. More than 2 million people are said to take a hike on part of the trail at least once each year; the idea of the Appalachian Trail came about in 1921. The trail itself was completed in 1937 after more than a decade of work, although improvements and changes continue, it is maintained by 31 trail clubs and multiple partnerships, managed by the National Park Service, United States Forest Service, the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Most of the trail is in forest or wild lands, although some portions traverse towns and farms, it passes through 14 states: Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine.
Thru-hikers attempt to hike the trail in its entirety in a single season. The number of thru-hikes per year has increased with 715 northbound and 133 southbound thru-hikes reported for 2017. Many books, documentaries and fan organizations are dedicated to the pursuit; some hike from one end to the other turn around and thru-hike the trail the other way, known as a "yo-yo". An extension known as the International Appalachian Trail continues northeast, crossing Maine and cutting through Canada to Newfoundland, with sections continuing in Greenland, through Europe, into Morocco. Other separate extensions continue the southern end of the Appalachian range in Alabama and continue south into Florida, creating what is known as the Eastern Continental Trail; the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail form what is known as the Triple Crown of Hiking in the United States. The trail was conceived by Benton MacKaye, a forester who wrote his original plan—called "An Appalachian Trail, A Project in Regional Planning"—shortly after the death of his wife in 1921.
MacKaye's idea detailed a grand trail that would connect a series of farms and wilderness work/study camps for city-dwellers. In 1922, at the suggestion of Major William A. Welch, director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, his idea was publicized by Raymond H. Torrey with a story in the New York Evening Post under a full-page banner headline reading "A Great Trail from Maine to Georgia!" The idea was adopted by the new Palisades Interstate Park Trail Conference as their main project. On October 7, 1923, the first section of the trail, from Bear Mountain west through Harriman State Park to Arden, New York, was opened. MacKaye called for a two-day Appalachian Trail conference to be held in March 1925 in Washington, D. C; this meeting inspired the formation of the Appalachian Trail Conference. A retired judge named Arthur Perkins and his younger associate Myron Avery took up the cause. In 1929, a member of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association and its Blue Blazed Trails committee, found Ned Anderson, a farmer in Sherman, who took on the task of mapping and blazing the Connecticut leg of the trail.
It ran from Dog Tail Corners in Webatuck, New York, which borders Kent, Connecticut, at Ashley Falls, 50 miles through the northwest corner of the state, up to Bear Mountain at the Massachusetts border. Anderson's efforts helped spark renewed interest in the trail, Avery was able to bring other states on board. Upon taking over the ATC, Avery adopted the more practical goal of building a simple hiking trail, he and MacKaye clashed over the ATC's response to a major commercial development along the trail's path. Avery reigned as Chairman of the ATC from 1932 to 1952. Avery became the first to walk the trail end-to-end, though not as a thru-hike, in 1936. In August 1937, the trail was completed to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, the ATC shifted its focus toward protecting the trail lands and mapping the trail for hikers. Many of the trail's present highlights were not part of the trail in 1937: Roan Mountain, North Carolina and Tennessee. Except for places where the Civilian Conservation Corps was brought in, the original trail climbed straight up and down mountains, creating rough hiking conditions and a treadway prone to severe erosion.
The ATC's trail crews and volunteer trail-maintaining clubs have relocated or rehabilitated miles of trail since that time. In 1936, a 121-day Maine to Georgia veteran's group funded and supported thru-hike was reported to have been completed, with all but three miles of the new trail cleared and blazed, by six Boy Scouts from New York City and their guides; the completed thru-hike was much recorded and accepted by the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association. In 1938, the trail sustained major damage from a hurricane; this happened right before the start of World War II
Colonial National Historical Park
Colonial National Historical Park is located in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and is operated by the National Park Service of the United States government. The park protects and interprets several sites relating to the Colony of Virginia and the history of the United States more broadly, ranging from the site of the first landing of the English settlers who would settle at Jamestown, to the battlefields of Yorktown where the British Army was defeated in the American Revolutionary War. Over 3 million people visit the park each year; the park includes the Colonial Parkway, a scenic 23-mile parkway linking the three points of Virginia's Historic Triangle: Jamestown and Yorktown and running through the historic district of Colonial Williamsburg. The Colonial Parkway is located in James City County, York County, the city of Williamsburg; the park includes the original site of Jamestown known in modern times as Historic Jamestowne. Located in James City County at the southern end of the Colonial Parkway, it encompasses the area of Jamestown Island, including the Jamestown Glasshouse, is adjacent to the Commonwealth of Virginia's complementary attraction known as Jamestown Settlement.
At the northern end of the Colonial Parkway, in York County at Yorktown, the park operates the Yorktown Battlefield. The Nelson House, built around 1724, may have served as Cornwallis's headquarters during the final battle of the Revolutionary War, the battlefield was the site of the British defeat. Both the house and the historic siege earthworks were restored in 1976; the Moore House is located in the eastern part of the park and is where surrender negotiations took place in 1781. Nearby, the state-operated Yorktown Victory Center and the Yorktown Riverwalk Landing area are located. Sir William Berkeley, who held the colonial governorship during the longest periods of any individual, used his Green Spring Plantation as an experimental farm to attempt to develop sources of income for the colony other than cultivated tobacco and traded furs; the preserved portion of the site of Green Spring has been untouched since the second dwelling there and dependencies were destroyed during the American Civil War, promising a rich archaeological dig area to follow upon recent discoveries at the Park's location on Jamestown Island.
The Cape Henry Memorial, site of the first landing of the Captain Christopher Newport and the soon-to-be Jamestown colonists in 1607, is located in the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia at Cape Henry. Open to the public, it is located off U. S. Route 60 on the Navy base Joint Expeditionary Base East. Colonial National Monument was authorized on July 3, 1930, it was established on December 30, 1930. On June 5, 1936, it was redesignated a national historical park; the cemetery at Yorktown was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service on August 10, 1933. Jamestown National Historic Site, is co-owned by the National Park Service and Preservation Virginia and administered by the NPS, was designated on December 18, 1940. Preservation Virginia owns 22 acres containing the remains of the original 1607 fort; the National Park Service owns the remaining 1,178 acres of the island which contains the archeological remains of the expanded towne and its island plantation sites. As with all historical areas administered by the National Park Service, Colonial National Historical Park and Jamestown National Historic Site are listed on the National Register of Historic Places of the U.
S. Department of the Interior. Island Drive, a historic road within the park. Historic American Engineering Record No. VA-115, "Colonial National Historical Park Roads & Bridges, York County, VA", 119 data pages Official NPS website: Colonial National Historical Park Cape Henry Memorial Green Spring Plantation Friends of Green Spring a large interactive web site with streaming video and essays Jamestown National Historic Site Yorktown Battlefield Yorktown National Cemetery Yorktown National Cemetery - a roster and photo of burials More information on the Battle of Yorktown