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The History of Natural Bridge State Resort Park


This page is under construction.  Please visit us again soon.

             The pictures above were apparently taken by Myrtle Wills Martin (or with her camera), circa 1930.  She is the middle lady in the picture of the ladies on the dock.  The gentleman standing on the side of Balanced Rock is her brother, Emmett Wills.  People in the other photos are presently unknown.

            The purpose of this Page is to document the rich history of one of the most beautiful State Parks in the Nation.  It is to be a stand-alone website once it is completed.  We are looking for old photos of the Park and for unique and interesting stories about visitor's experiences.  Stories about weddings and romantic encounters, grand adventures, spiritual journeys, and close calls are the stuff we are looking for.  If you have any good stories or pictures, or know of anyone who does, we would really like to hear about them.  You can contact us at: SaveOurCave@yahoo.com.  Please put "History" on the subject line of your email.  Thank you!


Some Recent Park History

            In 1981, much of Natural Bridge State Resort Park (NBSRP) was placed under the protection of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC), thereby designating it a Kentucky State Nature Preserve and giving it the highest level of legal protection which land can receive in the State of Kentucky.

            The nature preserve portion of the park is essentially all of the forest west of KY Hwy. 11, excluding the developed areas such as Hemlock Lodge, the Activity Center, cabins, swimming pool, the sky lift corridor, etc.  The preserve is about 1,500 acres out of the 2,300 acres of Park property.  Both NBSRP and KSNPC must agree on all management decisions which affect the preserve portion of the Park.

            Under current State law, when any endangered species is found on a nature preserve or state park, the best interest of that species must be considered.  Management personnel are empowered to manage each preserve in such a way as to protect the integrity of species and communities found there. Species and communities that are located near a nature preserve are not protected to the same degree, and their presence has no bearing on decisions made for the nature preserve.

            In recent years, several parcels of land have been purchased by the KSNPC and added to NBSRP. White’s Branch Arch (the Narrows), the Narrows Road, and the Pocket Wall sport climbing area are on these parcels.  After acquisition, the road was closed, as was Pocket Wall.  Much of the funding for purchasing these parcels came from the sale of Nature license plates for Kentucky motor vehicles.  Funding for the closing of Narrows Road and the gating of Natural Bridge Cave came from the government.