Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (NHP) is increasing recreational access to all park trails. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis. Beginning Saturday May 9, 2020, Cumberland Gap NHP will reopen access to all trails.
In KY, trails can be accessed from:
• Visitor Center parking area
• Thomas Walker parking area
• Dark Ridge Overlook
• Shillalah Creek Trailhead
In TN, trails can be accessed from:
• Iron Furnace area
In VA, trails can be accessed from:
• Colson Lane on Hwy 58
• Chadwell Gap
With public health in mind, the following remain closed at this time:
• Pinnacle Road
• Bartlett Park picnic area
• Daniel Boone parking area
• Wilderness Road picnic area
• Civic Park picnic area
• Wilderness Road Campground
• Backcountry campsites
• Visitor Center
Additionally, all restrooms remain temporarily closed and trash collection operations continue to remain suspended due to the limited availability of cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment necessary for sustained disinfection operations necessary for the protection of park visitors and park staff.
“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continue to be paramount. At Cumberland Gap, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored,” said Park Superintendent Charles Sellars. “We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.”
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles, and avoid crowding and high-risk outdoor activities.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Park staff will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.