Nature Conservancy Purchases 228 Acres Next to Big Bone Lick State Historic Park

Running Buffalo Clover. Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Sarena Selbo. Copyright does not apply to U.S. citizens.

According to a press release, The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky acquired 228 acres adjacent to Big Bone Lick State Park.  The land connects the state park to other privately protected land and the state-owned Adair Wildlife Management Area.  The new property is also bounded by Gum Branch and Landing Creek, tributaries to the Ohio River, which serves as a source of drinking water for more than three million people.

Nature Conservancy said this new tract and other nearby natural areas face pressure from the “Golden Triangle” of urban development (Cincinnati, Lexington and Louisville) and non-point source pollution from surrounding suburban areas and agricultural operations.  In response to these pressures, The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky acquired the land using mitigation funds from the Northern Kentucky University Research Foundation (NKURF) and Indiana Bat Conservation Fund.  The property was purchased from James Piner and the estate of Alice Piner for $1.35 million.  This purchase will also help protect Kentucky’s largest population of federally-endangered running buffalo clover.

“The NKURF’s Center of Applied Ecology utilizes fees paid by public and private entities that have adversely impacted aquatic ecosystems in the region,” said Dian Osbourne, Nature Conservancy’s Director of Land Protection in Kentucky.  “In the case of this property, such fees resulted from habitat lost during construction of a landfill.  The funds provide the opportunity to implement stream and wetland restoration in hopes of reversing the damage.”

Dean Henson, manage of Big Bone Lick State Historic Park, said the purchase conserves natural and historic resources and “serves as a buffer” to the existing park and will allow the park to manage its property “with fewer concerns.”

Salt Festival 2013

Musicians at the Salt Festival

Journey back in time as Big Bone returns to days long past.  For people of all ages, there will be numerous hands-on demonstrations and activities, including primitive fire starting, pioneer life, salt making, weaving, tomahawk throwing, storytelling, music, prehistoric demonstrations and lots more.  Don’t forget to browse the crafters corner to see the many wondrous handcrafted items for sale.  Then refresh yourself and your family at the food court.  While you are visiting, please feel free to see our bison herd and stop in the Big Bone visitor center.

Dates and times:
Friday October 18, 2013, 9 AM – 3 PM
Saturday October 19, 2013, 10 AM – 6 PM
Sunday October 20, 2013 , 10 AM – 5 PM

Big Bone Lick State Park Remains Open!

T-SHIRTS, MUGS and BOOKS in the Big Bone Lick Store

Open. Copyright © Andrew Beierle. Image used under license.

Despite the U.S. government shutdown, Big Bone Lick State Park (and all other Kentucky State Parks) remain open for business because they are state parks, not federal parks.  So now is a great time to visit a Kentucky State Park!

New Park Manager at Big Bone

Dean Henson is the new manager at Big Bone Lick State Historic Site as of July 16, 2013.  Henson was previously the naturalist at Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Pineville.

Henson is a 26-year veteran of Kentucky State Parks and has worked at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Fort Boonesborough State Park, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, and Lake Barkley State Resort Park.  Henson graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in anthropology and an emphasis in archaeology.

Citizen Science Stream Assessment Field Camp

Big Bone Creek

Join other citizen scientists for a 2-day camp sponsored by Northern Kentucky University on citizen-based biomonitoring.  Learn how to use technologies and assessment tools to provide professionals and agencies with credible data on the condition of aquatic environments in your region.  As a citizen scientist, this hands-on training provides you the protocols and techniques to justify your stream bioassessment and habitat quality evaluation.

The group will camp at Big Bone Lick State Park Friday night to access a variety of nearby streams.  The department will provide camping supplies and travel to the park.  Training includes use of a water quality app to calculate the Pollution Tolerance Index with Macroinvertebrates.  iPads will be available for use during the camp.  Participants need not have an iPhone or iPad to take part in the training.  Must be 18 or older to participate.

Registration for the camp is $35, which includes transportation to the campsite, tent lodging and three meals (lunch and dinner on Friday, breakfast on Saturday), and the Water Quality App for iPhone/iPad.  The program begins June 27, 2013 at NKU and includes an overnight Friday June 28 at Big Bone Lick State Park, ending June 29 back at NKU.

For further information please call (859) 572-5600 or Email:

More Information at NKU

Reforest Big Bone Lick State Park

Copyright © NKY Urban Forestry Council

Can You Dig It?  Bring your friends, family, and shovels to help make a difference planting trees in your community.  Volunteers will be planting trees to restore cleared areas back to native forest.  This will create a habitat for wildlife, improve air and water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce maintenance costs.

The first 200 volunteers will receive a FREE T-SHIRT!  Refreshments will be provided for all volunteers, who will also receive a native tree seedling to take home.

The annual reforestation event is sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Urban Forestry Council and other northern Kentucky companies.


March 23, 2013
9:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Click here to register to volunteer
Click here to download the event flyer

Memories of Big Bone Lick State Park

Bison at Big Bone Lick State Park

See what the early years of Big Bone Lick State Park was like from photographs by Bill and Anna Fitzgerald.  Their photo collection includes the planning of the park through the University of Nebraska excavations.  The presentation is by Bridget Striker, Local History Coordinator, and is co-sponsored by the Boone County Public Library.

Thursday February 28, 2013 @ 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Bones of three large beests were found in a salt lick

This begins a series of articles about the history of Big Bone Lick State Park.

Christopher Gist was a colonial British explorer, surveyor and frontiersman.  He was one of the first white explorers of the Ohio Valley including the area where Big Bone Lick State Park presently resides.  When the French and Indian War began in 1754, Gist accompanied Colonel George Washington on missions into this wilderness and saved Washington’s life on two separate occasions.


Wednesday 13 March 1750. — We set out S 45 W, down the said River on the S E Side 8 M then S 10 M here I met two men belonging to Robert Smith at whose House I lodged on this side of the Miamee River, and one Hugh Crawford the said Robt. Smith had given me an order upon these men for two of the teeth of a large Beest, which they were bringing from towards the Falls of the Ohio, one of which I turned in and delivered to the Ohio Company — Robert Smith informed Me that about seven years ago these Teeth and bones of three large Beests (One of which was somewhat smaller than the other two.) were found in a Salt Lick or Spring upon a small Creek which runs into the S Side of the Ohio about 15 M below the Mouth of the great Miamee River, and 20 above the Falls, He assured me that the Rib Bones of the largest of these Beests were eleven Feet long and the Skull Bone six feet wide, and the other bones in proportion; and that there were several teeth there, some of which he called horns, and they said they were upwards of Five Feet long, and as much as a man coud well carry; that he had his one in a Branch some distance from the place, lest the French Indians should carry it away — The tooth which I brought in for the Ohio Company, was a Jaw toothe of better Weight than four Pounds; it appeared to be the furtherest Tooth in the Jaw, and looked Like Fine Ivory when the outside was scraped off — I also met four Shannoah Indians coming up the River in their Canoes, who informed me there were about sixty French Indians encamped at the Falls.


The Journal of Christopher Gist, 1750-1751

edited by Avi Hathor

1750 March – April

Copyright expired, public domain

2013 Events at Big Bone Lick State Park

Following is a summary of events at Big Bone Lick State Park in 2013.  See the official Big Bone Lick website or contact Todd Young, Park Naturalist at for event details and updates.

Poised to launch a dart from an atlatl. Photo copyright © Richard Keatinge, used with permission under Creative Commons 3.0 License.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m Back!

Theresa and Timm in front of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California

My wife and I have returned from our one-year RV trip across western USA, Canada and Alaska.  It was an amazing trip, truly the adventure of a lifetime.  If you are interested, please check out our photo tour at National Park Explorers and our behind-the-scenes blog at TNTRV.

Now that our trip is over, even though I no longer live in the Big Bone Lick area, I will start updating this blog again on a regular basis.  I’ve always been a huge fan of Big Bone Lick State Park and have spent many days hiking the trails there.  With its natural and historic treasures, Big Bone Lick is a great place to bring the whole family for fun and education.