Big Bone Lick State Park
|Big Bone Lick State Park|
A sign for Big Bone Lick State Park
|Type||Kentucky state park|
|Location||Boone County, Kentucky|
|Nearest city||Union, Kentucky|
|Area||512 acres (2.07 km2)|
|Operated by||Kentucky Department of Parks|
|NRHP Reference #||72001585|
|Added to NRHP||June 13, 1972|
Big Bone Lick State Park is located at Big Bone in Boone County, Kentucky. It is located on Beaver Road and between the communities of Beaverlick and Rabbit Hash. The name of the park comes from the Pleistocene megafauna fossils found there. Mammoths are believed to have been drawn to this location by a salt lick deposited around sulphur springs. Ancestors of the sloth, bison, and horse also grazed the vegetation and salty earth around the springs that the animals relied on for their diet. The area near the springs was very soft and marshy causing many animals to become stuck with no way to escape. It bills itself as "the birthplace of American paleontology," a term which dates from the 1807 expedition by William Clark and his brother General George Rogers Clark.
In 2002, the National Park Service designated Big Bone Lick State Park as an official Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail Site. The park was also listed in 1972 on the National Register of Historic Places and was further listed as a National Natural Landmark in February 2009.
A new visitor's center was officially opened on November 18, 2004, but this was only the first stage of a much larger project now in quest of funding. The museum center features fossils, American art and a 1,000 pound mastodon skull as well as a gift shop.
The park also features several nature trails, including the Outdoor Museum with Discovery Trail that includes a boardwalk around a marsh bog diorama with recreations of a woolly mammoth, a mastodon, a ground sloth, bison, and scavengers feeding on carcasses and skeletal remains. The Discovery Trail winds through several habitats, including grassland, wetland and savanna, and is accessible to the physically challenged.
A small bison herd is also maintained on-site.
- Kleber, John E., ed. (1992). "Big Bone Lick". The Kentucky Encyclopedia. Associate editors: Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, and James C. Klotter. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-1772-0.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Hunter, David (Oct 1, 2003). "Shifra Stein's Day Trips from Cincinnati: Getaways Less Than Two Hours Away". Globe Pequot. p. 138. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
- Vaccariello, Linda (Nov 2009). "And On the Sixth Day, God Created Paleontologists". Cincinnati Magazine. p. 86. Retrieved 2013-05-18.
- David Wecker (2002-10-19). "Big Bone Lick: Books, awards and festival give pride of Boone County its due". The Kentucky Post (E. W. Scripps Company). Archived from the original on 2006-05-11. Retrieved 2007-02-05.
- Official site
- Big Bone Lick State Park
- History and Documents from Big Bone, Kentucky
- Big Bone Lick Blog
- Lewis and Clark Expedition Site article
- Kentucky Geological Survey article
- Thomas Jefferson Fossil Collection
- Big Bone Lick Park Observers
- Discover Northern Kentucky: Big Bone Lick