Local/Regional News
5:44 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Kentucky Opening New Nature Preserve in Garrard County

LANCASTER, Ky.--The newest nature preserve in the state will open this week.

Credit photo provided

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the 300-acre Dupree Nature Preserve south of Nicholasville in Garrard County has 3 miles of Kentucky River frontage with accessible public trails, environmental education facilities and programs for schools.

Land restoration efforts so far have involved removing invasive species and planting 12,000 native trees. Facilities will eventually include a dock, a picnic pavilion and educational information about the natural landscape and the history of the bend, where early pioneers once hunted and lived.

The Nature Conservancy, which has helped to protect more than 45,000 acres in Kentucky over the past 38 years, is building the preserve.

The group's biggest Kentucky acquisition ever was completed earlier this month when it purchased more than 4,000 acres near the Ohio River in Crittenden County as part of a water quality project. After purchase, the land was transferred to the state, where it will be managed by the wildlife and forestry divisions.

Conservancy director Terry Cook said the Dupree preserve represents a new direction for the conservancy because rather than just saving the area from development, the organization is trying to get the public to come out and enjoy it.

Cook said the group also wants to improve environmental education to create future generations of advocates like Tom Dupree Sr., who helped finance the new preserve.

The 83-year-old Dupree told the paper he fell in love with Kentucky's natural landscape as an Eagle Scout growing up in Harlan.

Dupree was at the preserve for a preview tour last week when a group of fourth-graders showed up.

"Kids who come out here can get a deep feeling that this belongs to them," Dupree said. "This belongs to everybody, and I hope it gives them a feeling of wealth - natural wealth."