MIDDLESBORO, KY – United States Mint (Mint) and National Park Service (NPS) officials launched the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program coin today honoring Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky.
“Modern day explorers and travelers stand in awe at this great break in the Appalachian Mountain chain, which gave passage to thousands seeking something new beyond the horizon,” said Marc Landry, plant manager of the United States Mint at Philadelphia, who represented the Mint at the launch event. “Millions of Americans will now have a reminder of the important role this mountain pass has played in the settlement of our Nation.”
Hattie Landen and Makaya Patterson, both fourth-grade students at Middlesboro Elementary School, shared master-of-ceremony duties of the event held at the park’s visitor center. Guest speakers included U.S. Representative Hal Rogers, NPS Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell, NPS Director for the Southeast Region Stan Austin, and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs. Highlights included an en masse swearing in of more than 2,200 junior rangers followed by a coin exchange, where the public traded cash for $10 rolls of newly minted Cumberland Gap National Historical Park quarters.
The Mint also hosted a coin forum at the C.V. Whitney Convention Center in Pine Mountain State Resort Park the evening before the launch ceremony, where local residents gathered to express their views about future coinage and learn about upcoming Mint coin programs and initiatives.
The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park quarter is the 32nd release in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, a 12-year initiative authorized by Public Law 110-456 to honor 56 national parks and other national sites. Each year, five new national sites are depicted on the reverses (tails sides) of the America the Beautiful Quarters. The United States Mint is issuing these quarters in the order in which the national sites were officially established.