This past Independence Day wasn’t just America’s birthday celebration. It was also the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.
When I was a kid my family lived just a few miles from the park. Years later, I lived in an apartment on the park’s edge, at the foot of Cumberland Mountain and just below the pathway followed by the Wilderness Road, with a fantastic view of the opening in the mountain wall that made this spot one of the most important in the history of American expansion. At work, my desk sat before a huge window that looked toward the Pinnacle. I still drive past the Gap several times a week, and I can’t begin to count how many hours I’ve spent wandering the trails and enjoying the interpretive exhibits and programs.
So on behalf of everybody else who either lives in the neighborhood or has paid a visit, here’s a big thank you to the park’s staff, and congratulations on five decades of preservation and education.