Ginseng Poaching in Cumberland Gap National Historic Park

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. -- Rangers in Cumberland Gap National Historic Park are watching for visitors who try to take more than just memories away after a visit.

Lead Field Ranger Gene Wesloh says rangers are catching more ginseng poachers than in the past. Wesloh said that cameras, remote sensing units and a ginseng marking program are lowering the amount of the root, which is popular in energy drinks and as an aphrodisiac.

Park staff recently obtained a conviction for one of the ginseng poachers caught last year after he was arrested on a warrant in Lexington, Ky. Jeffrey Langford pleaded guilty and was fined $250, ordered to pay more than $1,900 in restitution to the park, and banned for three years from park lands.

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