The quest for coal in the Appalachian Mountains has employed generations of miners for nearly a century. Some mining operations were enormous and employed thousands of workers. The colorful story of coal in Kentucky is filled with triumph and tragedy. Now, a new coal tour adventure will enable you to explore and examine the very locales that made the news back “when coal was king.”
The makings of a great adventure tour have been in place for years – Portal 31, the Kentucky Coal Museum, the top of Black Mountain, and Kingdom Come State Park, each within a virtual stone’s throw of the other. Indeed, the Cumberland-Benham-Lynch trio of mountain coal towns has a rich and proud past. So, organizing the area attractions in the vicinity into a one-trip-does-all guided tour just seemed like a good idea.
Pine Mountain State Resort Park will offer it’s next adventure excursion through coal country in November 2012. Plans are to visit the history-steeped Kentucky Coal Museum, climb aboard a rail car for a tour of the Portal 31 Underground Exhibition Mine, and ascend the 4,139-foot Black Mountain Summit – the highest natural point in Kentucky. Tour participants will also enjoy awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains and valleys of coal country from the lofty overlooks of Kingdom Come State Park.
The park’s next scheduled tour is November 3, 2012. Advanced registration is required and the departure time from the park is 8:00 AM for both trips. Van transportation will be provided to the first 10 persons and they recommend you bring a light jacket for the underground tour. Lunch at an endearing little eatery, Charlotte’s Hoagie Shop, is an additional out-of-pocket expense, but the menu is surprisingly extensive and the food is simply terrific. Total field trip time is expected to be around 8.5 hours. Anyone can participate in the tour and return to sleep in their own bed that night, but overnight accommodations are available at the park’s Herndon J. Evans lodge and reservations can be made separately.
It’s not everyday that you can climb aboard an old rail car, pass beneath a mountain, and trundle straight into the storied past, but what awaits adventurers here is really a trip back in time. It’s a golden opportunity to consider, up close and personal, the legacy of coal in southern Appalachia. By all acounts, it would seem that Pine Mountain State Resort Park has lined up a real crowd-pleaser with this new adventure tour.
For more information or to register for the Legacy of Coal Underground Mine Tour, contact the park’s Guest Services Desk at (800) 325-1712.
Tags: Naturalist Dean Henson
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