The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky is planning to close on a deal today to acquire 4,241 acres of forest in Crittenden County. The $13.4 million deal is the largest in the Conservancy’s 38-year history in the state.
The parcel is being bought from The Forestland Group, a timber investment company. Referred to as Phase 2 of the Big Rivers Corridor Project, the parcel of land was ranked as the number one priority in the United States Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program. The transaction is funded through the Conservancy’s land protection fund and in part by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Conservancy will transfer the property to the KDFWR and the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) at the end of the month which complements the 2011 transaction of the 2,571-acre Sturgis Tract. In addition to connecting the big rivers of Western Kentucky, the parcels also link other protected areas including the Shawnee National Forest, Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Land Between The Lakes National Forest, Clark’s River National Wildlife Refuge, and other state-owned lands.
Nature Conservancy State Director Terry Cook said the properties protected together will allow for effective water quality protection in a critical portion of the Mississippi River Basin. Cook said the additional benefits of conservation management include species recovery, preservation of cultural and geological resources and positive economic impacts. The KDFWR estimates the project will generate $500,000 in economic return to Kentucky each year.