, Corbin, KY

Local News

January 9, 2013

1,800+ acres of land purchased

CORBIN — By Katelynn Griffin / Staff Writer

Several agencies have partnered to purchase more than 1,800 acres of land in Whitley County in an effort to preserve local wildlife and plants.

The land is located along the Laurel Fork area and includes the Pine Mountain region and the watershed. The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission partnered with the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kentucky Division of Forestry and the estate of William Dennis Benge of Fort Wright to secure the land.

Additional funding was provided by American Electric Power, a subsidiary of Kentucky Power, and a grant provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act.

“It was a very long and drawn out situation,” said Donald Dott, director of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. “It took at least three years to acquire the property, but it finally worked out and we’re very happy.”

Dott said one of the reasons it took years to complete the project was because funding was coming from multiple sources and some parties backed out of the project for fear that it would never be completed.

The commission purchased the land from the Kentucky Natural Land Trust (KNLT) for approximately $700,000, a significant discount to the appraised value of the land. The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, which provided $300,000, acquires funds to purchase land by selling nature license plates. These plates are a part of the “Nature’s Finest” collection and often depict some type of Kentucky wildlife. Another $200,000 was donated to the commission by Benge.

“He was interested in preserving nature and wildlife. We’re very appreciative,” Dott said.   

Several unique species of wildlife are protected with the land purchase, including the blackside dace and the Cumberland arrow darter, two federally threatened fish species. The Cumberland elktoe and the Cumberland papershell mussels have been located on the property, both of which are federally endangered species. In addition to the wildlife, several plant species are found in the area, such as the rock harlequin and the blue mountainmint.

Dott described the species as “fairly uncommon,” but more investigation is required.  

“We had investigated the property prior and now that the land has been purchased, a complete inventory of the area will be conducted,” Dott said.

KNLT Executive Director Hugh Archer is familiar with another unique species in the area.

“There is a little beetle in one of the caves that is endemic to that cave,” Archer said. “It’s found nowhere else in the world.”

Archer said that there are potentially more endemic species waiting to be discovered and that some of the caves have never been disturbed by humans.

Archer said these same caves are home to the endangered Indiana bat and this land is important in protecting the bat's habitat.

The Pine Mountain corridor includes several protected land tracts to provide safe passage for numerous species throughout the state. This area consists of 120 miles from Virginia to Tennessee and is one reason for the resurgent black bear population in the state.

“This is the ninth state preserve area on Pine Mountain and is the southern most protected land area,” Dott said.

Archer said that 48 percent of Pine Mountain is currently protected due to the land purchases, but there is more work to be done.

“Our project isn’t just in Whitley County. We want to protect the entire stretch of Pine Mountain in all five Kentucky counties,” Archer said.  

The project was finalized on Dec. 20 and in a couple of years there should be a visitors parking area and a trail system.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0721 WEB drugs and money seized.jpg Six arrested in drug investigation

    Staff Report
    Six people were arrested Saturday on drug charges after a joint investigation by the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office and the London Police Department, according to Laurel County Sheriff John Root.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0721 WEB shelter cat 3458.jpg Shelter seeks help

    By Kristina Smith
    Staff Writer
    Renovating a 10,000-square-foot building isn’t easy, but Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter Director Deanna Myers is up to the task.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hwy. 192 widening hearing set

    By Kristina Smith
    Staff Writer
    A public information hearing Thursday will discuss the widening of KY-192.

    July 21, 2014

  • 0721 WEB Air Evac Lifeteam helicopter from 2012 "Touch-A-Truck".jpg Popular ‘Touch a Truck’ returns

    By Jeff Noble
    Staff Writer
    What do kids want to be when they grow up?

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0721 WEB flower shoe 3537.jpg Mountain Laurel flower show a success

    By Kristina Smith
    Staff Writer
    “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” was the theme for Saturday’s flower show presented by the Mountain Laurel District.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Today's Headlines: July 21, 2014

    Six arrested in drug investigation

    Shelter seeks help: Rebuilding continues, Knox-Whitley animal shelter needs more volunteers, donations

    Popular ‘Touch a Truck’ returns: Corbin Public Library event wraps up summer reading program

    Mountain Laurel Flower Show a success

    Tripped Up: Tough loss follows Saturday's walk-off win

    Comeback Effort: Knox County recovers from 24-0 loss, grabs 4-2 win in pool play

    July 21, 2014

  • 0719 Barbourville Police Chief Mike Broughton (close up).jpg Barbourville police chief retiring

    After nearly three years, Barbourville Police Chief Mike Broughton wants to take a rest.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0716 Dirk Shelton in his Air Force uniform.jpg Shelton funeral may be held midweek

    Arrangements are still incomplete as of Friday night, but family members have told the Times-Tribune the funeral of Staff Sergeant Dirk Shelton may be held either this Wednesday or Thursday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Part of Ky. 80 to be closed for bridge repair

    This friendly reminder for the weekend — part of Hwy. 80 east of London in Laurel County will be closed beginning Monday as crews from Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District 11 office repair a bridge.

    July 20, 2014

  • 0718 DUCK FOR WEB.jpg Quack Pack

    About 50 ducks waddled up the banks near the Engineer Street Bridge Wednesday during a sunny and pleasant afternoon.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter