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Get outdoors and enjoy fall in the Gap

By JOE ASHER

joe.asher@middlesboronews.com

Fall is here, and given the current pandemic, there are some things that normally come with fall that may be a little different this year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of attractions available in Bell County that are still safe options to participate in this year.

According to the Bell County Tourism website at https://www.bellcountytourism.com/attractions, one such attraction offering fall activities is Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. The park includes the Pinnacle Overlook, camping, hiking, and other activities.

According to Park Guide Lucas Wilder, while masking and social distancing are required almost everything the park has to offer is now open to the public.

“The only restrictions we have is the Kentucky mask mandate says that visitors have to wear a mask once they come into the Visitor Center,” Wilder said.  “The Visitor Center is open, the bookstore is open, the museum is open, and we are still playing the movie. We haven’t got the movie in the theater, but we still show the movie on the outside of the theater.”

Wilder mentioned all the trails are open.

“The campground, the Pinnacle, and all the bathrooms are open,” Wilder said.  “Virtually everything is open.”

Wilder explained that while tours of Hensley Settlement and Gap Cave are not available, the areas are open.

“We just don’t do tours of the Settlement or the Cave,” Wilder said.  “You can’t go inside the buildings up at Hensley Settlement because they’re locked…but you’re still able to go to the settlement if you’re willing to hike the mileage to get up there.”

Wilder pointed out visitors will need to have a mask on inside the Visitor Center and stay six feet away from others.

Camping rates are $20 for a site with electricity and $14 for a site without electricity.

For more information, go to the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov.