Sunday, April 27, 2008
Where is the Daniel Boone Parkway?
Ask anyone for directions in the vicinity between Laurel County and Perry County, and there's a good chance that they'll mention "The Daniel Boone Parkway". However, you may then be confused to find nothing but signs for a "Hal Rogers Parkway".
The matter is a serious bone of contention for many Kentuckians and non-Kentuckians alike. The controversy dates back to the year 2000, when then-Governor Paul Patton decided to rename the Daniel Boone Parkway after the sitting U.S. Representative from Kentucky, Hal Rogers. This was an extremely unpopular decision, and remains one to the present day. The outcry from insulted Kentuckians, outraged at the removal of Daniel Boone's name for the sake of a political favor, reached the national and even international news media, but in the end nothing was done.
The "Hal Rogers Parkway" signs are frequently targets of defacement and vandalism, and some have even been surreptitiously removed in protest. Complicating the matter further is the impending Interstate 66 project, which would combine the Hal Rogers Parkway with the Cumberland Parkway. It's not known for sure whether those parts of the new Interstate would retain their previous names, so we may end up with neither Boone nor Rogers, but a mere 66!
In 2005 Governor Ernie Fletcher, as a gesture of good will, renamed a small stretch of U.S. 25 the "Daniel Boone-Cumberland Gap Wilderness Trail". Not bad, but most of us would still rather have the Daniel Boone Parkway back.