Department of Travel and Tourism
Adjutant General to Keynote Boone Trace Dedication at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
The Kentucky National Guard will salute the legacy of Daniel Boone during the dedication of the Boone Trace Project at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park on Saturday, June 14.
Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, will speak during the 4 p.m. ceremony at the park near Middlesboro. The dedication opens the first phase of a 120-mile corridor that traces the footsteps of Boone as he marked a path for settlers to follow into Kentucky.
Sam Compton, president of the Boone Society Inc., an association of Boone descendants, said the pioneer is uniquely linked to Kentucky and its military history. Boone, who served as a militia colonel during the American Revolution, fought with family members at the Battle of Blue Licks, the last battle of the American Revolution in Kentucky. His son, Israel, died there.
“Family, honor, and duty were the foundations of his actions,” Compton said. “He was a leader, a protector, and a patriot.
“The Kentucky National Guard has embraced Daniel Boone as the most appropriate symbol to grace its new memorial plaza honoring Kentucky’s fallen National Guardsmen,” Compton added. “A statue of Daniel Boone at the new memorial pays tribute to the roots of today’s Kentucky National Guard, to those militiamen who served steadfastly in uncertain and dangerous times during the earliest days of the Commonwealth’s history. We are pleased to have them participate in the dedication ceremony for the Boone Trace Project.”
The Boone Trace corridor will have education stations along the way for families and students to learn about the founding of Kentucky and the beginning of America’s westward movement.
“It is not always a happy story, but it is our nation’s history; all of us should know something about it to better understand what it means in our third century to be an American,” Compton said.
The June 14 dedication starts with a re-enactment of the first settlers crossing the Cumberland Gap with Daniel Boone, portrayed by Steve Caudill. The public is invited to participate in the walk and to represent the 250,000 settlers who passed through the Gap between 1775 and the early 1800s. The walk begins at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park at 1:30 p.m. Live music begins at the park visitor’s center at 3 p.m., followed by the dedication program at 4 p.m.
At 6 p.m., Friends of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will host a premiere of the film “Daniel Boone and the Opening of the American West” at the visitor’s center. The film’s producer, Lexington attorney and historian Kent Masterson Brown, will attend. Tickets for this fundraising event are available through Friends of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park by calling 606-248-2551.
“The Boone Trace Project is a dynamic and changing collection of venues and activities,” added Compton. “Together they offer visitors to southeast Kentucky a variety of opportunities to connect with the life and times of Daniel Boone and those who came with him and who followed him into America’s First Frontier. New events and new opportunities for connecting with the Boone Trace and its story are being created now. Others are being planned for the future. The Boone Trace Project is about bringing history to life and life to history. It’s a great American story, and it starts here.”
More information about the Boone Trace Project is available at www.boonesociety.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 $12.5 billion, supports about 175,000 jobs and generates more than $1.3 billion in taxes.