Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area was recently awarded the prestigious Keeper of the Light award for exceptional interpretive and educational contributions to the Southeast Region and/or the National Park Service. The Keeper of the Light Award is the highest honor bestowed by the National Park Service Division of Interpretation and for the Southeast Region.
Big South Fork received the award for their annual Ghost Train event, which leads groups of intrepid visitors through the grounds of the old Blue Heron coal camp to various “ghost structures” at night to local volunteer storytellers. Through the age-old tradition of the spoken word, these skilled orators share their traditional tales from around the region.
Keeper of the Light Award was established in 2001 to recognize parks that have excelled in interpretive efforts and in collaboration with other park divisions in support of reaching out to the visiting public with interpretation and educational messages, interpretive support, and special events.
Since its inaugural year, in 2012, the Blue Heron Ghost Train has become a signature park event. Thousands of individuals who were otherwise unfamiliar with the history of the Big South Fork now count attending this event among their most meaningful and memorable experiences while visiting the park.
“We are proud of this award and would like to especially thank our volunteers,” said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas. “Without their assistance, this popular event could not be possible.”
The annual Ghost Train event is scheduled for the second Saturday of September each year. For more information about this special event, please use the following website: https://www.nps.gov/biso/planyourvisit/bhghosttrain.htm.