Through the Cumberland Gap and near Daniel Boone’s legendary Wilderness Road is Boone’s Ridge: a family-friendly, safe, tourism destination that delivers a unique wildlife encounter and outdoor experience combined with diverse attractions and activities that deliver something for everyone. Located in the same area Boone made famous nearly 250 years ago, Boone’s Ridge will once again draw travelers to these magnificent wild lands—only this time instead of unexplored terrain, delighted visitors will find a collection of safe, comfortable amenities nestled in Kentucky’s Cumberland Mountains in the midst of abundant wildlife and beautiful landscapes.
Boone’s Ridge is owned and operated by the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation, a 501 (C)(3), non-profit organization.
Boone’s Ridge will alter the economic and educational landscapes of Eastern Kentucky when this $56 million endeavor comes to life. It is set to open in summer 2023.
Tucked away in Kentucky’s Cumberland Mountains, Boone’s Ridge will host over 990,000 visitors a year from across the nation. Here the wildlife is abundant, and visitors will enjoy uncommon sights such as wild, free-ranging elk, rare birds, and other wildlife thriving in their natural habitat.
Elk are a tourism super-magnet, attracting crowds wherever viewing opportunities exist, and Kentucky is home to the largest wild elk population east of the Rocky Mountains.
Boone’s Ridge is home to over 260 species of birds, and is already listed as a “bird watching hotspot” by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the leading resource and community of birders. The site will be a favored destination amongst the over 60 million self-described “birders” in the US, as well as casual enthusiasts.
Black bears are regarded as the most popular wildlife species among tourists in the United States and are plentiful at Boone’s Ridge.
White-tailed deer can be seen in great numbers at Boone’s Ridge. Less tolerant of human proximity than elk, the deer will be observable year-round.
A robust population of Bobcats is present at Boone’s Ridge where they thrive in the backdrop of the Cumberland Mountains.
Combining plentiful wildlife and magnificent wild lands with first-class amenities and customer super-service, Boone’s Ridge will be an exceptional tourism experience from the indoor amenities to seemingly endless outdoor sights and sounds.
By donating to Boone’s Ridge, you’re making a worthwhile investment in the economic development and recovery of a region with a well-documented and pervasive legacy of poverty and inadequate educational resources. Boone’s Ridge will bring opportunity for economic and educational development to this area of Eastern Kentucky.
The economy of Eastern Kentucky has long been centered on the extraction and export of natural resources. Boone’s Ridge will prove the value in showcasing the bountiful wildlife and mountain landscapes.
The 990,000 Boone’s Ridge visitors each year will generate over $202 million in new spending annually, which will create 3,300 new jobs. On site 210 people will be employed with an average full-time wage and benefits package at $54,263, which is almost triple the individual median income in Bell County, Kentucky.
Boone’s Ridge will implement a far-reaching and robust education program. This program will reach over 100,000 students annually, will include annual scholarships and education grants, and will provide financial support to bring school groups on site.
In partnership with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology we will bring Cornell instructors to the region to conduct teacher workshops.
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