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Preservation Kentucky Awards Daniel Boone National Forest for their Rock Shelter Protection Efforts

A hiker explores a rock shelter in the Red River Gorge (photo courtesy of Daniel Boone National Forest).

A hiker explores a rock shelter in the Red River Gorge (photo courtesy of Daniel Boone National Forest).

In the Red River Gorge, archaeological evidence indicates human inhabitance of rock shelters beginning at least 12,000 years ago. The artifacts found at these sites represent the daily lives of Native Americans who once lived in Kentucky. The rock shelters also include the remains of many historic period industries, such as saltpeter mining and moonshining.

Plant and seed remains found in rock shelters of the Red River Gorge indicate that Native Americans began domesticating plants as food crops more than 3,700 years ago. Scientists often rely on the archaeological evidence found here to address the origins of agriculture in eastern North America.

Some of the Forest Service efforts that were lauded include hosting events that brings the past to life through interpretive demonstrations and conducting “Operation Overhang,” a combined effort between Forest Service law enforcement officers, archaeologists and backcountry rangers to educate visitors about rock shelter protection needs and policies.

An award ceremony was attended by representatives from the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Heritage Council/Kentucky State Historic Preservation Office, Frenchburg Job Corps, and Preservation Kentucky. Forest Supervisor Frank Beum accepted the award on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service.

For more information about Preservation Kentucky, visit www.preservationkentucky.org.

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