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This is the seventeenth diary in my "Expanding the  National Parks" diary series.
 Below are the links to my Previous Diaries
2 Alaska
3 Arizona
4 Arkansas
5 California
6 Colorado
7 Connecticut
8 Delaware
9 Florida
10 Georgia
11 Hawaii
12 Idaho
13 Illinois
14 Indiana
15 Iowa
16 Kansas

Last week, I was in Kansas, this week I'm in Kentucky. Kentucky has 5.4% of its land owned by the feds, good for 26th in the country. Currently Kentucky has 1 national park, 2 national forests, 3 wildlife refuges, and 4 historic sites. I will be proposing the first monuments in the state.

This is the seventeenth diary in my "Expanding the  National Parks" diary series. Last week, I was in Kansas, this week I'm in Kentucky. Kentucky has 5.4% of its land owned by the feds, good for 26th in the country. Currently Kentucky has 1 national park, 2 national forests, 3 wildlife refuges, and 4 historic sites. I will be proposing the first monuments in the state.

 Total Area 40 409 sq miles
 Land Area 39 488 sq miles
 Water Area 921 sq miles
Coastline 0 miles
 Additional Monuments-3

*  Linden Grove- a cemetery In Covington Kentucky, it is one of the oldest cemeteries in the area and is the final resting place of many Civil War soldiers, including many from colored regiments. it was considered as a possible national park in 1963 and was added to the register of historic places in 2001. designating it a monument and memorial would be a fitting tribute to the men buried there who fought to preserve our Union. Estimated area 30 acres
* Big South Fork  This upgrades the existing recreational area to monument status, and expands the borders of the recreational area. the Big South fork runs from Tennessee into Kentucky,and  the area is very remote, having been depopulated before it was designated a RA in the 1970s. the region contains one of the highest concentration of natural bridges in the Eastern US. Estimated area 150000 acres-roughly 230 sq miles
* Land Between the Lakes Upgrades the existing recreational area to monument status. Land between the Lakes is a strip of land between  the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. orginially proposed as the 'Between-the-Rivers' RA in 1961, it was finally established by President Kennedy in 1963. upgrading it to a monument will provide more funds and staffing for the area, and will result in increased visitation. Estimated area 200000 acres roughly 310 sq miles


* Mammoth Cave  Established 1941 Covers 52 830 acres
 protecting the longest cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave was set aside as a park in 1926. The CCC operated 4 camps on the area from 1933 to 1942, putting in infrastructure for the park. every year, new discoveries are made , adding on to the cave systems length, currently the cave system stretches for nearly 400 miles, and extends under land not owned by the Park Service. the park will likely have to expand to protect all of the caves.Mammoth Cave was named a World Heritage Site in 1981 and an International Biosphere Reserve in 1990. over 500000 people visited the caves in 2012.


* Daniel Boone Established 1937 Covers 706000 acres
 One of Kentucky's 2 national forests, and the only one entirely in the state, Daniel Boone is named after frontiersman Daniel Boone who helped explore much of Kentucky before it became a state. The official boundary for the forest is over 2 million acres, but the Forest Service only owns about a third of the land in the boundary. The forest contains two wilderness areas- Clifty Wilderness (12600 acres) and Beaver Creek Wilderness(4800 acres). Originally named Cumberland after the Duke of Cumberland , who put down a Scottish rebellion in the 1740s,and which resulted in many Scottish families  moving to America, in particular Kentucky.Those families descendants still lived in the area at the time of the forests establishment and naming, and still hated the Duke for his actions, thus "Cumberland" was eventually renamed in 1966 to Daniel Boone. 2,5 million people visited the forest in 2004.

* George Washington and Jefferson Established 1918 Covers 1, 788,900 acres (in KY,VA and WV)
Originally two separate national forests, George Washington  and Jefferson, the forests were combined in 1995. the vast majority of the forest -1.6 million acres-lies in Virginia, 100000 acres lies in West Virginia, and less than 1000 acres lies in Kentucky. There are 23 wildernesses making up nearly 140000 acres, and over 1 million acres is remote and primitive. the first camp in the CCC, Camp Roosevelt was established in George Washington NF in 1933. Nearly 3 million people visit the forest annually.


* Clarks River Established 1997  Covers 8040 acres
Set aside to protect bottomland hardwood forests along the eastern fork of the Clarks River, the refuge is the only one of Kentucky's refuges to lie completely in the state, and is home to over 200 species of migratory birds.
* Ohio River Islands Established 1990 Covers 3354 acres (in KY PA and WV)
 Consisting of 22 islands in the Ohio River, the refuge runs from Kentucky to Pennsylvania. most of the refuge lies in West Virginia, which has 18 of the islands, Kentucky has two, and Pennsylvania does as well. species the refuge range from freshwater mussels to bald eagles to red foxes.
* Reelfoot Established 1941 Covers 10428 acres (in KY and TN)
Created from lands surrounding Reelfoot Lake, which was created in the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-12, the refuge extends into Tennessee, and is an important stop on the Mississippi Flyway..  the refuge has a staff of nearly 20 people, and 600000 people visit every year.


* Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHP Established 1916 Covers 345 acres
Protects the site where Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809, and lived before he moved to another site in Kentucky, Knob Creek (which is now part of the park). Originally designated a national park in 1916, it was re-designated as a historic park in 1950, changed to historic site in 1959 and returned to an historic park in 2009. The park contains a log cabin modeled on the one Lincoln was born in. the original was dismantled before 1865. nearly 170000 people visited the site in 2012.
* Big South Fork NRA Established 1974 Covers 125 310 acres(in KY and TN)
Protects the south fork of the Cumberland River, as well as the many natural formations, such as natural bridges and hoodoos, that lie in the area. most of the refuge lies in Tennessee, and extends into Kentucky. 600000 people visited the area in 2012,
* Cumberland Gap NHP Established 1940 Covers 20 508 acres (In KY TN and VA)
 Protects and preserves the Gap, a 12 mile long natural pass through the Cumberland Mountains that served as a passage point for native Americans  and English settlers for decades before the founding of the US. Daniel Boone created a trail called Wilderness Trail through the gap, today some of the trail is preserved in the park, and plans are being made to restore portions of the road to what it looked like in the 1790s. between 200-300 thousand settlers used the Trial before 1810, and the gap served as a important military objective during the Civil War in the "battle of Cumberland Gap' which resulted in a Union victory. Grant was so taken with the Gap, that he claimed that with just two regiments he could hold it against the army Napoleon had when he attacked Moscow in 1812 Ss Route 25E ran through the park from 1926-96 when the road was rerouted around the Gap and Cumberland tunnel was created. the portion that ran through the park is now a walkway. over 850000 people visited the park in 2012.
* Land Between the Lakes NRA Established 1963 Covers 170000 acres
 Established by President Kennedy in 1963, the NRA is the second largest public land in the state, behind Daniel Boone NF. The area became the US largest inland peninsula when a canal between Kentucly Lake and Lake Barkley in the 1960s. the area was originally managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority upon establishment but was transferred to the forest service in 1998.

And thus concludes my diary on Kentucky. Next week I'll be in Louisiana trying the gumbo, and checking out New Orleans. As Always Comments, feedback and imput are welcome.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Daniel Boone National Forest is awesome. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Watch out for flash floods and the guys making the moonshine.

    "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."- Lao-Tzu

    by Pakalolo on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 07:26:42 AM PDT

  •  Land Between the Lakes - (0+ / 0-)

    The lakes are not lakes, but flooded bottomland reservoirs with bunches of snags still standing. Many smallholders were forced off their land by the TVA to construct the reservoirs - which are excessive in size for the primary mission of the TVA - flood control. The major recreation is motorized watercraft. So the lakes are hardly anything to add to the park system.

    The creation of LBTL involved the forced eviction of hundreds of families - mostly small farmers. Often their homes were torched prior to any agreement to settle. Nowadays, LBTL has cute little demonstrations of "olden days" crafts at Golden Pond which is little more than Disney fabrication.

    Part of the NPS - hell no!

    •  Yes this was before the days of negotiated buyouts (0+ / 0-)

      and lifetime tax free offers. the residents were thrown off their land, and I understand that people would resent that. but making it a monument does NOT mean it becomes owned by the Park service. there are national monuments owned by the Forest Service and LBL would remain managed by the Forest Service.

      •  Sorry, I Cannot Agree - (0+ / 0-)

        Already it is a glorified playground for the upper middle class and lower upper class. (It's a bit declasse for the true upper class.) Marinas, condos. Historical farmsteads were seized and burned supposedly to remove development - then, of course, it gets "redeveloped" to serve the needs of the advantaged.

        The creation of such spaces has taken place all across the nation, but LBTL is one of the most egregious examples. There is neither the natural values not the historical significance for monument status.

        •   what area would you propose in its stead? (0+ / 0-)

          in earlier diaries I tried to get readers to submit their own list of areas, but I abandoned that after a couple of diaries because the interest wasn't there.

          •  I Like the Work You Do - (0+ / 0-)

            I cannot say.

            I didn't comment in your Idaho diary that expanding or upgrading the status of Sawtooth NRA is well nigh impossible.

            Do you know the story of Grand Teton National Park? The Rockefeller land purchases? The designation of Jackson Hole National Monument?

            Plus there's the Owen's Valley in California, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Grand Escalante in Utah. There's a long list of parks and other facilities created using the heavy hand of expropriation such that rural constituencies are almost instinctively opposed to any federal status expansions.

            Since most undeveloped areas are relatively remote and, usually, in red states - it means getting the political pieces together is profoundly difficult. The last major successes were in Alaska under Carter - ANILCA.

            Valles Caldera in New Mexico has been an economic and public relations disaster. It was set up as a Trust to create a self-supporting operation with public-private partnerships. What happened is that it became an extreme example of a Sherwood Forest - with access primarily for the well-heeled.

            Actually, I do not see how the more traditional parks could be established in Kentucky or many other states. It might be possible to create an extensive historical park in abandoned mine lands in eastern Kentucky. This would be a far cry from the traditional understanding of the park service - but it would provide desperately needed work and environmental restoration as well as expanded recreation opportunities for the people of eastern Kentucky.

            •  Yes I covered those areas (0+ / 0-)

              I believe that the President should be able to set aside any area he or she wants as monuments, and that the limits in Wyoming and Alaska need to be scrapped. Congress already has all the power and input it needs: its called passing legislation. It also can defund or abolish monuments, it rarely does so because people like their parks. the supreme Court upheld the use of the AA in 1920 when an Arizona representative sued to strike down the AA- he had been operating a toll road in Grand Canyon before it was made a park. if congress fails to pass legislation, then plan B is invoked the AA. If it were left up to states like Idaho Utah or Wyoming, those lands would be developed for oil and gas exploration and lose their character.  Passing the areas I propose would require an omnibus bill, and would have to include funding for the existing areas and new areas , spread out over 10 years. basically- Years 1-3 eliminate existing backlog in existing  parks, years 4-6 establish new monuments-parks. years 7-10 work new areas into the system.. the way to get around local opposition is to require local hiring, and to set headquarters for the parks near the towns and areas. those folks know the area well, and allowing existing uses(with the exceptions of mining or oil drilling) would be a compromise i'd be willing  to accept. for example, allowing snowmobiling in the North woods of Maine, like is allowed in Alaska, would be something I could support.

              •  That could be work for a revived CCC (0+ / 0-)

                The CCC developed infrastructure for many of our national parks _Acadia, Smoky Mountains to name a few- and imo needs to be revived permanently, as part of a Department of Conservation. States like Kentucky don't have the large areas  like in the West, due to historical development occurring long before conservation came along. Its why Niagara Falls is not a national park. Each state has areas worthy of federal protection, the trick is protecting them and not taking up too much land. the one exception to that in the East is the North woods in Maine which covers over 10 million acres. Think of it as a larger Adirondacks Park.

              •  That Day Is Long Past - (0+ / 0-)

                In fact, even though there is no legislation for areas other than Wyoming or Alaska, a president would almost never designate a national monument in a state which strong opposition from that state's congressional delegation.

                The last big controversy was when Clinton declared the Grand Staircase Escalante NM over the objections of Utah's delegation. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that a president has the power to do so, the net result is even more resistance to federal land management initiatives from wildlife protection to field surveys.

                Plus, there is the loss of political capital. Clinton knew he had the 1996 election in the bag and Utah was hardly going to vote Democratic. But even Democrats in Utah howled and the state Dem Party took a big hit.

                At best, you will see new management areas along the lines of the current Wilderness Study Areas in national forests. Even these engender opposition, but they can be created administratively. In actuality, they are wildernesses in all but name.

                •  i think if the President proposed setting aside (0+ / 0-)

                  Bristol Bay in AK, for instance, Begich would support it. The fight over Pebble mine shows that the locals want to preserve the rivers and salmon, and the best way to protect the region is through monument status.Bush set aside a couple thousand acres in AK as part of the WW2 Valor in the Pacific monument in 2008. I agree that passing monuments over delegations objections is really a thing of the past- on the presidential level. going through Congress is another matter entirely. Alaska Utah and Wyoming can gripe all they want, but if congress designates new monuments in their states, and majority votes for it in both houses its going to happen. states should not be able to exempt themselves from the AA, period.

  •  my idea, in regards to reaching the number (0+ / 0-)

    of monuments for each state, is to look at existing areas first , like forests, recreational areas and refuges, and see if any of them, or parts of them, warrant being upgraded. its easier, ultimately, to upgrade existing areas than add in a bunch of new areas for each state. Cuyahoga Valley in Ohio was a recreational area before Congress upgraded it to a national park, so there's precedent for it. further Kentucky doesn't have ANY monuments right now, its one of 22 states that don't have any.

  •  Great idea, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MorrellWI1983, BMScott

    ...keep in mind that Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork Recreation Area cover some of the poorest counties in Kentucky - which, by extension, are some of the poorest counties in the country. (The Big South Fork Recreation Area currently covers about 10% of Owsley County, which is considered "the poorest county in the nation".)

    Expanding either of those may well be a limiting factor on economic development in those areas.

    I think that the potential consequences of such expansions need to be part of the discussion.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 08:43:56 AM PDT

    •  Good Point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Balancing preservation with allowing enough growth is an issue. Owlsey is coal country isn't it? Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia are beautiful areas that have been tied to coal for generations, but coal is dying off in this country, it doesn't produce the jobs it once did, and natural gas is undercutting coal on price so cities are switching to natural gas.

      •  Just barely "coal country" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Owsley County produced less than 0.1% of Kentucky's coal in 2012 (26,000 tons), and only 3 of the state's 476 mining licenses include Owsley County.

        No coal production (or employment) was reported for Owsley County in 2013.

        (Source: Kentucky Coal Facts, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet)

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 09:20:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks wesmorgan. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          So it doesnt have much economic activity going on. Perhaps putting a CCC camp, or a few of them,  in the region would create economic activity. The Original CCC put 17 camps in Kentucky, employing 3400 men. a modern version, allowing women, blacks, Indians, disabled etc, would employ a lot more people

          •  I've said that for years...*grin* (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I'd like to see a return to mandatory national service, but with that service opened to things like the Peace Corps, Americorps, the Public Health Service, and--yes--a modern equivalent to the WPA or CCC.

            The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

            by wesmorgan1 on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:57:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  it would certainly put lots of people (0+ / 0-)

              currently out of work, to work, which has all sorts of positive benefits. before the CCC was created, a third of young men were unfit for military service, much of the Great Plain was completely stripped of topsoil, and millions had quite literally nothing. because of the CCC, not only were men put to work correcting those problems and earned a salary, they got into militarily useful shape, not just in strength and fitness but having the ability to follow orders and execute them.

  •  Worthy of Consideration: 3100 acre (0+ / 0-)

    Blanton Forest.

    As one of 13 large old-growth tracts remaining in the eastern United States, Blanton Forest is a diverse ecological treasure. Many of the trees are 3 feet to 4 feet in diameter, towering 100 feet above the forest floor. Several trees have been dated to the late 1600s. Blanton Forest contains several forest communities, including mountaintop wetlands known as acid seeps and mixed-mesophytic deciduous forest.

    Trees that tower 100 feet above the forest floor are the same ones the settlers saw as they came through the Cumberland Gap and moved westward into Kentucky in the 1700s. The forest is a union of past and present, one of the rare places where nature's scheme has gone unchallenged and unexploited.

    Several distinct natural communities are found in Blanton Forest. The most diverse of these is the mixed mesophytic forest. This forest typically includes a variety of canopy trees such as sugar maple, beech, tulip poplar, basswood, hemlock, and several species of oaks and magnolias. It is found on moist, rich slopes and in some ravines. The larger ravines, or hollows, support a hemlock dominated forest with a dense understory of rhododendrons. Drier sites on ridges support chestnut oak dominated forests as well as oak-pine forests. Small open seeps, often called bogs or mires are filled with sphagnum moss, cinnamon ferns and wildflowers. They are located in the heads of some hollows on the south face of the mountain. Watts Creek, a stream within the preserve that supports a population of the federally threatened fish, Blackside dace, begins in one of these seeps.

    Blanton Forest is named in honor of former owners Grover and Oxie Blanton. The Blantons purchased the land in 1928 and passed it on to their daughters with the understanding that it would never be logged. The Blanton family’s desire to protect the forest forever was fulfilled when the two parcels containing the old growth were acquired in 1995 and 2001 and dedicated as state nature preserves.

  •  I want to thank you johnnygunn (0+ / 0-)

    for our discussion. It was very informative, and I enjoyed it. it is always good to get feedback from people, and to understand their reasons for supporting or not supporting things.

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