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Ginseng poaching on the rise at Ky. national park

Friday - 5/4/2012, 10:04am  ET

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (AP) - Rangers at a national park in Kentucky say they are seeing more visitors trying to take away more than memories.

Poachers are digging up ginseng roots at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. The root can be sold for a hefty profit, and is used in energy drinks and as an aphrodisiac.

Gene Wesloh is the park's lead field ranger. He told The Daily News ( http://bit.ly/JHFexF) that cameras and sensors are helping catch thieves. Park workers are also marking the ginseng. That means it can be traced back to the park, and the tag destroys the ginseng's value when it's time to sell.

Digging up the root on national park property is illegal.

Jenny Beeler leads the park's resource management division. She says workers are also mapping ginseng and replanting it when possible.

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Online:

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: http://www.nps.gov/cuga.

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Information from: The Daily News, http://www.middlesborodailynews.com


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)