Boone Trace seeks to be national scenic byway

Photo by Bobbie Poynter Curtis Penix (at left) and his friend Given Fox were joined on their March 2015 hike of the Boone Trace by Steve Valentine (right). Penix recorded his trip on social media, allowing the world to join him on his walk.
Photo by Bobbie Poynter
Curtis Penix (at left) and his friend Given Fox were joined on their March
2015 hike of the Boone Trace by Steve Valentine (right). Penix recorded his
trip on social media, allowing the world to join him on his walk.

Boone Trace, the original trail that Daniel Boone and friends first blazed in 1775, could soon be listed as a national scenic byway, if the Friends of Boone Trace have anything to say about it. The trail would support bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle traffic, allowing visitors the chance to “take a walk in Daniel Boone’s shoes” along the historic trail.

In recent years, the Boone Trace has received plenty of publicity as travelers have  hiked the trail, publicizing their movements through TV, radio, newspaper and even social media. A docudrama of the Trace was filmed in 2014 through the collaboration of Union College and the Knox Historical Museum. To date, however, the Trace is still only locally recognized.

But, the Boone Trace could soon become so much more, historically recognized both locally and nationally.

Dr. John Fox and Steve Valentine, representing the Friends of Boone Trace, attended the June Barbourville City Council meeting. The men addressed the the commission and asked them to pass Resolution No. 2016-3, proclaiming the Boone Trace as a “road of historical significance worthy of being further identified, preserved, protected, marked and made accessible to the public.” Through the resolution, the City Council also gives the Friends of Boone Trace consent to apply for state bicycle, pedestrian and scenic byway programs.

Before they can make the Boone Trace a statewide recognized historical trail, Friends of Boone Trace is asking for support from each of the five counties, including Bell, Knox, Laurel, Pulaski and Madison, as well as each of the cities for which the trail runs through. Then they can begin to apply for federal and state funding.

With the passing of Resolution No. 2016-3, Barbourville and Knox County have both given their consent to the Friends of Boone Trace to move ahead. According to Valentine, Bell County and its cities have given their consent. The city of London has already given its approval, and the organization hopes Laurel County will soon follow suit.

With the support of all five counties, the organization will have much more strength in their grant writing and in developing ways to receive state and federal assistance toward the end goal of making Boone Trace an historical path.

“We will continue to speak with the other counties and cities along the Boone Trace until we get each of them to pass the resolution,” said Valentine. “We’re still working with federal government, and we’ve already got bills passed through the Kentucky state legislature.”

Besides the recreational value of the Boone Trace, the Friends of Boone Trace want to ensure the knowledge of such an important and historical event is not lost on the children in the area.

“We want to educate the public,” said Valentine. “This was such an important event to happen. It’s imperative that our children be made aware of the historical significance of the Boone Trace and be able to pass the knowledge down to their children for years to come.”