PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky has made a historic land acquisition that's expected to give the state an economic boost.
Conservancy state director Terry Cook told The Paducah Sun (http://bit.ly/1eEIQ2h) the 4,241-acre acquisition of land in Crittenden County is the largest in the conservancy's 38 years.
He added that the $13.4 million deal is one of Kentucky's largest conservation deals.
Cook said the parcel near Union County was ranked as the No. 1 priority for the U.S. Forest Service's Forest Legacy Program, which seeks to protect woodlands that can improve water quality, provide wildlife habitat, generate forest products and offer opportunities for recreation.
The property was purchased last week from The Forestland Group, a timber investment company.
Officials say the deal complements a 2011 transaction acquiring the adjacent 2,571-acre Sturgis Tract.
Together, the acquisitions create more than 6,500 acres for recreation and public access. It will be known as the Big Rivers Wildlife Management Area and State Forest.
According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife national survey, the project is estimated to generate a $500,000 economic return to Kentucky each year.
"Every time there is conservation land set aside ... you get a return on the investment," Cook said. "That increase in tourism and recreation activities tends to generate a good deal of revenue that offsets any sort of property tax loss."
Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com