I just returned from a trip that took me to our 5 parks on the far Western side of the state, Wilderness Road State Park
In a career that has spanned 23 years and has taken me across the state to our state parks and national parks and even to state parks in other states, I had never been to Wilderness Road State Park until now. Wow, was it worth the wait, but I wish I would have made it there sooner.
It is located off of Route 58 in Ewing just minutes away from entering Kentucky. The drive getting there is quite scenic though and the roads weren’t as windy as I thought they would be. As you approach the entrance you see Karlan Mansion built 1877 and the new visitor center for the park. The two buildings jump out at you after miles of small farm houses, fields and mountains.
The visitor center is well done and the movie of Wilderness Road Trail and days of Daniel Boone is incredible. As you head out the backdoor of the visitor center you cross into the historical reproduction area. It is as if with just a few steps you go from the 21st century back to the 1700’s. The buildings were made with no modern tools, but only with what they would have had back in this time period, which makes what you are seeing that more amazing.
Martin’s Station as this fort was called, played a key roll in the settlement of the American West. It was a final staging area for many before venturing into the great unknown in search of a better life. As impressive as Martin’s Station was, I was overwhelmed by the historical interpreters working at the fort. I have never seen a more passionate group of people in my life, many volunteers that come out and willing give their time to show others what it was like here over 200 years ago. It was fascinating to see baskets being made from scratch, soap being made in a giant pot on fire, Kentucky long rifles being made from scratch, the blacksmith hard at work making nails, sheep wool be spun, a chicken dinner being made in the kitchen and so many other incredible and gifted skills.
I want to commend and thank the staff at Wilderness Road as you all our top notch. I was there for Community Appreciation Day as a guest speaker and everyone was great!
A special thanks to Park Manager Jon Tustin, Mike, Karen, Donna, David, John, Olivia, Tony (President of the Friends Group), Billy Heck (that’s Captain Titus to you) and the rest of the wonderful staff and volunteers too numerous to mention. You all should be extremely proud of what you have done to make this park one of our best and I encourage our readers to get out and see and hear the amazing story of Wilderness Road. Maybe it’s true that you often save the best for last…