Learn About Us

FRIENDS of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park works through members, volunteers, and partners to protect, promote and preserve Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and support the National Park Service.

Members of FRIENDS financially support Cumberland Gap NHP work and NPS programs, special projects, and events at the park.  We seek to extend our reach by working with local and regional government, common-minded nonprofits, clubs and other organizations.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park was dedicated in July 1959. The wilderness and historical features within the park stretches across three states.  The location of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park places it within a one day drive for about half the population of the United States. Each year the park is typically first or second on the list of most attended National Parks within Kentucky.    

Despite the growth of visitors through the years, funding to meet the growing demands of those attending the abundant and diverse attractions and resources was becoming an annual challenge for park management. 


In fact, national parks across the US must do more with less.  Services such as ranger interpretive programs, road maintenance and the expansion of visitor programs and facilities were at risk.

Across the country, the NPS looks for ways to meet these challenges by connecting with nearby communities and visitors who love their parks.  Matching the needs of NPS with the desires of supportive local citizenry brought about the “friends of parks” movement.  Non-profit groups formed and organized around the singular idea of befriending their favorite parks.

FRIENDS of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park was organized in 2009 as a membership-based organization to provide the funds for special NPS projects at CGNHP and volunteers are encouraged to take on many of the jobs that the NPS can no longer afford to support.  It is believed the organization and its members can be a catalyst for ensuring the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.  FRIENDS wants to be the link between Park visitors and the local communities, empowering those communities to become involved in Park projects.

As federal funding to the National Park system has declined, the need for FRIENDS is vital to Park operations.  Every member and volunteer plays an active role.  Please consider becoming part of FRIENDS and help us ensure the spectacular beauty and abundant resources of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park remain to be visited and appreciated by future generations.