On April 11, 1966, after more than two years of hard work and efforts by preservationists across the county, the Cumberland National Forest was renamed in honor of Daniel Boone. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order 3715 and the name immediately changed to honor the pioneer woodsman. With one stroke of his pen, Johnson turned 708,000 acres into the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Designating the Cumberland National Forest, KY as Daniel Boone National Forest
April 11, 1966
By the President of the United States of America
One hundred ninety-one years ago, the frontiersman Daniel Boone opened the American West for an expanding nation. In the year 1775, he cut the 200 mile Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap to the Kentucky River. There he established the settlement of Boonesborough, one of the first great outposts on America’s march toward the Pacific Coast.
Daniel Boone is a renowned early American pioneer whose name is particularly associated with the State of Kentucky and with the Cumberland Gap. Most of the wilderness, as he knew it, has long since vanished from the face of America. Yet, farsighted conservationists of past generations and today have preserved much of the forests and valleys in which he spent his life.
Among the 186 million acres of natural forest and grasslands, none is more beautiful nor more strongly associated with the spirit and the symbol of Daniel Boone than the Cumberland National Forest in the State of Kentucky.
It is fitting and appropriate that being so associated with his spirit, it should also carry his name.
Now, Therefore, I, Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States, under and by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 24 of the Act of March 3, 1891, 26 Stat. 1103, as amended (16 U.S.C. 471), the Act of June 4, 1897, 30 Stat. 34, 36 (16 U.S.C. 473), and by Section 11 of the Act of March 1, 1911, 36 Stat. 963 (16 U.S.C. 521), do hereby proclaim that the Cumberland National Forest in the State of Kentucky, as defined by Proclamation 2227 of February 23, 1937 (50 Stat. 1818), is hereby designated and hereafter shall be known as the Daniel Boone National Forest.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this eleventh day of April in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninetieth.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
By the President:
DEAN RUSK, Secretary of State
In the years following Johnson’s signing of Executive Order 3715, his reputation suffered because of America’s involvement in foreign wars, especially in Vietnam and southeastern Asia. After protests and unrest across the nation, Johnson chose not to run for reelection in 1968.
During his administration, he signed the landmark legislation known as the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the Land and Water Conservation Act. He was instrumental in the preservation of nine million acres of natural wildland and established the wilderness preservation systems that are still in use today.
It is important to remember his efforts to preserve our wild and special places including the Daniel Boone National Forest and what would become the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail.
He said during the signing of the Wilderness act of 1964, “This is a very happy and historic occasion for all those who love the great American outdoors, and that, needless to say, includes me.”
© 2022 Stephen D. Bowling