Kentucky maintains a widespread system of 50 state parks, 17 of which are resort parks. The Pennyrile Forest State Park is located south of Dawson Springs. Grouped around the vast Kentucky Lake, which lies on the Tennessee River behind Kentucky Dam, are Kenlake and Kentucky Dam Village state resort parks. Situated in the western part of the state, both of these state parks provide excellent facilities for fishing and water sports. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, surrounded by Daniel Boone National Forest, is on the Cumberland River. The Cumberland Falls, the park’s principal attraction, are 38 m (125 ft) wide and have a drop of 21 m (68 ft). They are known for their moonbow, a rainbow that forms at full moon in the mist over the falls. In Natural Bridge State Resort Park, which is also surrounded by the national forest, is a spectacular, natural stone arch. The Kentucky Horse Park at Lexington features a great variety of horses and international competition.
In addition, there are units of the park system that are noted for their historic associations. Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site, at Fairview, in southwestern Kentucky, commemorates the birthplace of Jefferson Davis, who served as the only president of the Confederacy. John James Audubon State Park, near Henderson, in northwestern Kentucky, is named for the famous 19th-century naturalist and artist John James Audubon, who lived and worked in Henderson. In the park are a bird sanctuary and a museum that houses some of Audubon’s famous works.
At Bardstown, about 50 km (about 30 mi) southeast of Louisville, is My Old Kentucky Home State Park, one of the state’s most famous landmarks. The park preserves Federal Hill, the mansion where, according to tradition, Stephen Foster was inspired to write the famous song for which the shrine is named. This song is now the state song of Kentucky.
Old Fort Harrod State Park, at Harrodsburg, commemorates the first permanent white settlement in Kentucky. It includes a reconstruction of the original Fort Harrod, which was built in 1775, the year after the first settlers arrived. The site of a settlement organized by Daniel Boone is in Fort Boonesborough State Park. In Levi Jackson State Park, near London, in southeastern Kentucky, are reproductions of pioneer buildings. Two other units, Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site, in central Kentucky, and Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, northeast of Lexington, commemorate the bloodiest battles that occurred in Kentucky during the Civil War and the American Revolution (1775-1783).
Other state park units include Columbus-Belmont Battlefield State Park, which marks the site of a Civil War engagement; Dr. Thomas Walker State Historic Site, which is dedicated to the first white person to discover the Cumberland Gap; and William Whitley House State Historic Site, in which is preserved what is said to be the first brick house built west of the Allegheny Mountains. The house, which has been restored, was completed in 1794.
There are six state forests, which cover a total area of about 16,000 hectares (40,000 acres). The largest is Pennyrile State Forest, which covers 6,260 hectares (15,470 acres). The others are Dewey Lake Forest and Kentenia, Kentucky Ridge, Tygart, and Olympia state forests. "Kentucky" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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