The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River has many names. . .
'The Yosemite of the East'
'The Country's Best Kept Secret'
'The Center of the Universe'
It is, in fact, ALL of these, and more. I've grown up here, and experienced all that is the Big South Fork. It is a rare jewel ~ a park for everyone to enjoy. ~ Rae Laxton
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Encompassing 125,000 acres of the Cumberland Plateau, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area protects the free-flowing Big South Fork of the Cumberland River and its tributaries. The area boasts miles of scenic gorges, sandstone bluffs and is rich with natural and historic features.
The National Park Service preserves and interprets a diverse cross-section of our nation’s cultural and natural resources. This is especially true in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The area has a long human history spanning the last ten thousand years. From the prehistoric Paleo Indians to the coal miners of recent time, Big South Fork is an area with a rich cultural tapestry.
Established in 1974, The Big South Fork was designated as both a National Recreation Area and a National River. The National Recreation Area designation was deemed appropriate due to the area’s proximity to a large number of metropolitan areas and the potential the area exhibited for outdoor recreational activities.
While still managing Big South Fork in such a manner as to protect the area’s natural and cultural resources, the park is also managed in a way which will provide visitors with the opportunity to engage in a wide range of healthy outdoor recreational activities.
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