Daniel Boone is the hero of American pioneer history, the preeminent symbol for America’s Westward Movement across its first frontier. He first marked a trail for other pioneers to follow west into America’s heartland during the spring of 1775. This was a vast expanse of wilderness that served as the hunting lands of the Shawnees, who along with the Cherokee adamantly resisted what they saw as an invasion of their homelands. Over the next few decades and following the American Revolution, hundreds of thousands of settlers of European descent poured into Kentucky along Boone’s Trace, passing through the Cumberland Gap and on to Fort Boonesborough still 120 miles away.
Along this route today, within the Boone Trace Corridor, are a host of recreational and educational opportunities to help visitors connect American pioneer history and heritage. At each site, visitors will discover heroic tales of historical men and women from two and a quarter centuries ago, triumphant in the face of harsh elements and difficult hardships. Exploration of museums, parks, and trails will also reveal a story of the conflict between separate cultures with different ideas of how best to live life with the resources provided by the land. It is the story that directed the earliest development of a new American nation. It is the important story that helped shape America of today.
The Cumberland Gap National Park
The Cumberland Gap National Park provides one of the best accounting of the era with a park featuring the pathway through the famous gap and a visitors centre that educates the public on these historical facts. The painting of the wall mural by David Wright showing the Boone party coming over the gap and gives visitors an image that represents this occasion.