KNLT recently purchased 353 acres of key conservation land on Pine Mountain near Pineville in Bell County. The two tracts acquired protect unique habitats that harbor a diversity of plant and animal life, including the endemic Icebox Cave Beetle found nowhere else on Earth. These acquisitions kept this beetle off the endangered species list.
These new tracts are additions to the 2,050 acres KNLT purchased in 2016 that established The Narrows Preserve. The purchases add to the protection of the historic gap at Pineville and ensure preservation of more of the viewshed from Pine Mountain State Resort Park’s iconic Chained Rock.
The Narrows Preserve is an important link in the Great Eastern Trail, the 1,800-mile hiking trail planned from Alabama to New York. In Kentucky, the trail connects Breaks Interstate Park with the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. The trail is important to the outdoor recreation industry in the region and an essential part of the unfolding transitional economy.
Executive Director, Hugh Archer, said, “These acquisitions are important additions to the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor. This corridor represents a wealth of natural capital that is important to human and economic health and well-being. Investments in opportunities such as this have local, regional and global benefits.”
KNLT has ongoing public-private partnerships with Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, Kentucky Department of Parks and other organizations that are resulting in a matrix of protected lands along Pine Mountain.
The acquisition project was made possible through funding from the Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kentucky Field Office) along with ongoing support from foundations, KNLT’s board, and a broad base of loyal donors. Over the last several years, KNLT has added more than 4,000 acres of forests in Bell and Harlan counties to the wildlands corridor.
6/26/2017 – Press Release (pdf)