Natural Bridge state park reopening to public Friday

Published 10:33 am Friday, April 28, 2023

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Officials at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, one of Kentucky’s most popular tourist attractions, will return to normal operations later this week, now that a large fire has been brought under control.

The park announced Wednesday in a Facebook post that normal operations will resume on Friday.  “Trails will be open except for the Balance Rock Trail and the Hoods Branch Trail which will remain closed due to safety concerns.  We appreciate everyone’s patience while we recover from the recent forest fire.”

According to park officials, the wildfire was 100% contained on Monday, after having burned 125 acres. A Kentucky Division of Forestry crew remained on site two days to monitor the containment lines. Personnel from the U.S. Forest Service Daniel Boone National Forest were released from their duties at Natural Bridge.  Park staff then assessed the area, before the decision was made to reopen most of the trails.

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Around 100 firefighters from the Kentucky Division of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service Daniel Boone National Forest, and local fire departments with multiple engines and aerial resources, worked the wildfire at the park and nature preserve located in the Slade community of Powell County.

Spring burn restrictions remain in effect across Kentucky through April 30.  During this time, state law prohibits any person to burn between the daylight hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., in or within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland.

The Kentucky Division of Forestry says they have responded to nearly 700 wildland fires since January 1, affecting more than 11,000 acres.  Most of the wildfires have been a result of outdoor debris burning escaping and arson.

Forestry officials say that public efforts can go a long way in reducing wildfires. Taking extra precautions with debris fires and campfires and being alert to forest arson can eliminate the majority of wildfires that occur in Kentucky.

The KDF asks people to report suspicious acts of arson to local law enforcement, the nearest Kentucky State Police post, or call the Target Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON.