The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has acquired nearly 2,500 acres of land in Scott County for public hunting, fishing and wildlife recreation.
The department's newest wildlife recreation tract, which has been known to locals through the years by several names such as the old Hall Farm, the Beluga Property, and more recently as simply Rogers Gap, lies north of Rogers Gap Road and east of I-75 to its intersection with U.S. 25.
This is a historic event," said Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Jon Gassett. "This is great for us at the department and for people in central and northern Kentucky who enjoy the outdoors."
"A third of Kentucky's population lives in this area, and we rarely find a large tract of land like this for sale at an affordable price that is within reasonable driving distance of so many people," said Gassett. "Adding opportunity for wildlife-related recreation within this area is a key element of the department's long-term strategic plan."
The department's acquisition permanently protects this undeveloped area in Kentucky's Bluegrass Region just minutes north of Lexington.
The department used $3.25 million from Kentucky's Wetlands and Stream Mitigation Fund that is managed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Kentucky Division of Water. The department added $3 million in federal grant money specifically designated for fish and wildlife land acquisition. No state tax revenues or Fish and Game Fund dollars were used.
Use of the Kentucky Wetlands and Stream Mitigation Fund commits the department to several miles of stream restoration on the property and the permanent protection of those restored streams.
"The department first inquired about purchasing this property in 1999," said Gassett. "We began working with the most recent owner, RLL Lexington Properties LLC, in 2010 with a new acquisition."
The department plans a grand opening dedication on the grounds in the spring of 2012. Department officials are working on regulations governing its use.