Local HAZMAT (hazardous materials) coordinator Scott Moore said members of the HAZMAT team were called to retrieve the cord, finding it approximately 200 to 300 yards above the 21-mile marker on KY 38.
The explosives are now "in a secure location under lock and key" according to Moore.
Moore said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) will probably investigate the matter.
He said there was no danger to the team while retrieving the materials, but it doesn't mean that the cord isn't dangerous.
"If you wrapped it around an 8-inch tree and detonated it, it would cut that tree in two," said Moore.
He said there were still probably tons of the explosives in the mountains, left behind from the coal mining boom of the 1970s.
"It used to be nothing to see trucks driving around with loads of it," said Moore. He said it's much harder to obtain now.
"If anybody runs up on anything like that, don't fool with it," said Moore. "Call us and we'll come get it."
He recommended that anyone who finds explosives should contact the Kentucky State Police, Harlan City Police Department or the Harlan County Sheriff's Office.