FRANKFORT — Daniel Boone is returning to Kentucky. America’s pioneer hero is coming through Cumberland Gap on June 14 as part of dedication ceremonies for the Boone Trace Project, an effort by six southeastern Kentucky counties to help visitors understand the pioneer’s legacy.
Behind Daniel Boone, portrayed by veteran re-enactor and Boone descendant Steve Caudill (danielbooneofkentucky.com), will be a large party of historical interpreters in period dress. They’ll be portraying the “axe men” who came through the Gap in spring 1775 to help Boone mark the Boone Trace to the spot that became Fort Boonesborough, 120 miles away. The re-enactors will be joined by descendants of Boone and his wife, and the public is invited to participate in the free event.
The walk is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Highway 872 in Cumberland Gap, Tenn., and proceed through the Gap to the visitor center at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park near Middlesboro. The dedication ceremonies will begin at 4 p.m. outside the visitor center. Visitors will be able to engage re-enactors in a period encampment starting at 2:30 p.m. Music by Trae McMaken (traemcmaken.com) will begin at 3 p.m.
The premiere showing of a new film, “Daniel Boone and the Opening of the American West,” will be held at 6 p.m. at the visitor center. The film’s producer, Lexington attorney and historian Kent Masterson Brown, will attend. Film tickets are available through Friends of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park by calling 606-248-2551.
“The Boone Trace Project began three years ago as a way to celebrate the life and times of Daniel Boone by helping bring visitors into the communities where his legacy is present in the heritage of the towns and counties that lie along that historic corridor,” said Sam Compton, president of the Boone Society Inc.
Six southeastern Kentucky counties – Bell, Knox, Laurel, Rockcastle, Madison, and Clark – are joining in the project to share the museums, markers, monuments, historic sites, replica forts and cabins, and festivals that already exist to help tell a story to visitors about the history of America’s first frontier.
Support for the project is being provided by the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism, Kentucky State Parks, and Kentucky Department of Education. The goal is to create a self-sustaining corridor of educational and recreational opportunities to experience the pioneer history of Kentucky.
Events related to the Boone Trace dedication also will take place during the preceding week in close-by areas of neighboring southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee.
Visitors can learn about blacksmithing, foods and cooking, weaving and clothing, gunsmithing and firearms, among other frontier skills.
A three-day Genealogy Jamboree in Cumberland Gap will provide an opportunity to mingle with Boone descendants and explore connections to frontier families.
The Boone Society is holding its biennial national reunion at Pine Mountain Resort State Park near Pineville and visiting historic sites in the area June 11-15.
For more information about the Boone Trace dedication and related events, visit boonesociety.org or contact Sam Compton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism is an agency within the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, which promotes the commonwealth as a travel destination.
Tourism in Kentucky has an economic impact of more than $12.2 billion, supports about 174,000 jobs and generates more than $1.2 billion in taxes.