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Pinnacle Road, Restrooms, and Most Picnic Shelters Open on May 29 at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park as Phased Accessibility Continues 

[Middlesboro, KY] – The Pinnacle Road, restrooms, and most picnic shelters at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park will open on Friday, May 29 as phased accessibility continues following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities.  The National Park Service (NPS) continues to work servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities in closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.  

The four-mile long Pinnacle Road leads to the infamous Pinnacle Overlook, from which visitors have stunning views of the Appalachian landscape, to include breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.  Summer morning visits often offer a vista painted by ethereal fog flowing through the historic Cumberland Gap, the mountain pass through which frontiersman Daniel Boone journeyed.  A 600-foot accessible trail leads to the viewing platform.  “As the overlook is the most visited area in the park, visitors must strictly follow social distancing guidelines,” emphasized Park Superintendent Charles Sellars.  The Pinnacle Road is not open to vehicles over 20 feet in length.  

All picnic shelters, except for the O4 site located within the Wilderness Road Campground, will be available for use provided group size is 10 or fewer.  On June 29, in accordance with Kentucky guidelines, group size can be 50 or fewer.  Picnic shelter reservations can be made by calling the park at 606-248-2817 between 9 am and 4 pm daily.  Cost per day for each shelter is $30.00.  Visitors are again reminded that strict following of social distancing and public health guidelines, including frequent handwashing, are required.    

With public health in mind, the Wilderness Road Campground and visitor center continue to remain temporarily closed.  Tours of Hensley Settlement and Gap Cave remain suspended.    

“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continue to be paramount.  At Cumberland Gap, we are examining each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance,said Superintendent 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.   Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the park’s website www.nps.gov/cuga and social media channels https://www.facebook.com/CumberlandGapNHP/ and https://mobile.twitter.com/CumberlandGapNP.  Visitors can also call 606-248-2817.  NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.