Kentucky, United States

About Kentucky

Kentucky is located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth (the others being Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts). Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State, a nickname based on the fact that native bluegrass is present in many of the pastures throughout the state, based on the fertile soil. It made possible the breeding of high-quality livestock, especially thoroughbred racing horses. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world's longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park; the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the Lower 48 states; and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River.

Kentucky Tourism and Recreation

The state operates 15 resort parks (13 of them year round). The state also operates 15 recreational parks and 9 shrines. Breaks Interstate Park, on the Kentucky-Virginia border, is noted for the Russell Fork River Canyon, which is 1,600 feet (488 meters) deep; the park is supported equally by the two states.

One of the state's top tourist attractions is Mammoth Cave National Park, which contains an estimated 150 mi (241 km) of underground passages. Other units of the national park system in Kentucky include a re-creation of Abraham Lincoln's birthplace in Hodgenville and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, which extends into Tennessee and Virginia.

Kentucky Climate

The climate of Kentucky is temperate with moderately cold winters and warm, humid summers. Temperature, rainfall, and humidity remain within limits agreeable to man and are suitable for varied plant and animal life. All seasons are marked by changes in weather that come from passing fronts and associated centers of high and low pressures. This activity is least in late spring and in summer, somewhat greater in fall, and greatest in winter and in early spring. Temperatures depart from the average least during the period of greatest activity. Temperatures at times will be lower-nearer the ground or in local areas subject to extreme air drainage. At times there may be considerable variation in temperature in hilly areas. Since the Forest is oriented north and south, the weather may vary considerably during a frontal passage.

Precipitation is fairly well distributed throughout the year; there are no wet or dry seasons. October has the least rainfall, July the most. Annual free-water evaporation from shallow lakes and farm-ponds averages about 35 inches, which is about 11 inches less than the average annual precipitation. About 74 percent of the evaporation occurs from May to October.

Kentucky Transportaion

Kentucky is served by five major interstate highways (I-75, I-71, I-64, I-65, I-24), nine parkways, and three bypasses and spurs. The parkways were originally toll roads, but on November 22, 2006, Governor Ernie Fletcher ended the toll charges on the William H. Natcher Parkway and the Audubon Parkway, the last two parkways in Kentucky to charge tolls for access.

Kentucky's primary airports include Louisville International Airport (Standiford Field), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), and Blue Grass Airport in Lexington. Louisville International Airport is home to UPS's Worldport, its international air-sorting hub. There are also a number of regional airports scattered across the state.

Being bounded by two of the largest rivers in North America, water transportation has historically played a major role in Kentucky's economy. Most barge traffic on Kentucky waterways consists of coal that is shipped from both the Eastern and Western Coalfields, about half of which is used locally to power many power plants located directly off the Ohio River.