By Dylan Turner
In March, the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust announced that it had acquired 2,050 acres of Pine Mountain in order to preserve the area’s natural habitats. The environmental conservation organization’s purchase will add to the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor project, which plans to protect a portion of land stretching the entire 125-mile length of the mountain from Virginia to Tennessee. The land will also be incorporated into the existing Great Eastern Trail, a hiking path that stretches 1,800 miles through the Appalachian mountains from Alabama to New York.
In a press release, Executive Director Hugh Archer called the tract of land “the single largest addition and most expensive investment in the Wildlands project in KNLT’s 20 year history.”
In recent months, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has proposed cutting $10 million from the budget of the Heritage Land Conservation Fund, a state board that provides funding for the conservation and preservation of natural areas. Though the newly protected section of Pine Mountain was purchased with private funds, the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor could still be affected. “Cuts to the heritage program could impede inclusion of this new reserve into the state parks system,” says KNLT Assistant Director Greg Abernathy.