Winburn named park manager at Boonesborough

Published 10:40 am Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Jack Winburn has been at Fort Boonesborough State Park for almost his entire life.

What started with family camping trips eventually turned into a career with the state park, culminating with Winburn becoming the park’s general manager last week.

“We camped here as a kid all the time,” Winburn said. “I loved Boonesborough and have been here ever since.”

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After graduating high school in 1978, the Clark County native joined the park as a seasonal worker, working as a clerk in the campground’s grocery store. Over the next 17 years, Winburn worked his way through the ranks of seasonal work, from six months to nine months and 11 months, and all around the park.

“I’ve done everything from mowing to cleaning bathrooms, trail maintenance and fort and pool ticket sales,” he said. “The only thing I’ve not done is lifeguard.”

In 1995, Winburn became a full-time employee as manager of the park campground, where he stayed until being named interim manager last year.

The 170-acre park includes the campground, picnic shelters, the reconstructed frontier-era fort, a miniature golf course and a gift shop. There is usually something happening at the park throughout the year form history events at the fort to car shows at the park and all manner of other things.

On Sept. 7-8, there will be a Hands on History event where children can grind corn and churn butter, among other things.

One of the bigger events has become trick-or-treating for Halloween at the campground, where campers will decorate their sites and hand out candy.

The park also features a restored lock keeper’s house, near the dam on the Kentucky River. The museum, he said, is only open on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day, but it a hidden treasure of the park.

“The woman who gives the tours used to live there as a daughter of the lock keeper, and she’s a jewel,” Winburn said. “People just don’t know it’s there.

Winburn said there are still plenty of things to do at the park, especially for return visitors

“Just because you visited four years ago” doesn’t mean things haven’t changed,” he said. “You need to check us out again.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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