Almost $10 million to be spent on battlefields, wildlife areas

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) The Great American Outdoors Act Coordination and Implementation Task Force released further details about Fiscal Year 2021 Great American Outdoors Act deferred maintenance and Land and Water Conservation Fund projects, including four in Kentucky totaling some $10 million.

“We continue to make progress to deliver on the purpose of this historic conservation legislation. We carefully evaluated each deferred maintenance project and land acquisition to maximize the return on investment for the American people and deliver on the promises of this unprecedented opportunity,” said Margaret Everson, Counselor to the Secretary and Chair of the Great American Outdoors Act Task Force.

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The Kentucky projects include:

  • Mammoth Cave National Park
    • Replace Mammoth Cave Hotel Roof To Correct Deficiencies and Improve Visitor Experience This project will replace the Mammoth Cave Hotel roof, and correct other exterior envelope deficiencies. The flat roof will be replaced with pitched roof and the interior hallways reconfigured. The new roof will eliminate severe moisture failure of existing roof
  • Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument – $425,000
    • The property is located between Mill Springs Battlefield Road and the western banks of the Cumberland River. This tract contains an original Confederate trench line, the site of Brig. Gen. Zollicoffer’s headquarters, a 2-gun cannon battery position, and the Confederate Cemetery. Indentations in the ground remain from hundreds of Confederate cabins. The Battlefield is the site of the Union’s first decisive Civil War victory and where Zollicoffer, a Congressman from Tennessee, was killed. Its importance was recognized by both sides during the war and acquisition of this parcel will preserve this historically significant area.
  • Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area – $1,037,000
    • These two tracts represent the most threatened real property lying within the boundary of Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Most of the lots outside the boundary have been developed, whereas lots within the boundary remain, for the most part, in their natural state. The acquisition of these tracts would, by and large, provide complete protection to this section of the park, as mandated by Congress. The current owners have been approached by individuals who want to develop the properties. These tracts connect to larger segments of protected property, thus providing critical corridors for wildlife migration, refuge for endangered or threatened species, and a necessary first step to expanding recreational access through the development of key trails and trail heads for hiking and horseback riding within the park.
  • Green River NWR $8,000,000 FWS will acquire several tracts of bottomland hardwood forests. Acquisition will provide public outdoor recreation opportunities, including hunting and fishing

The Great American Outdoors Act is working to address the historically underfunded, multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at national parks, American Indian schools and public lands in addition to funding new public access projects across the country. Some $9.5 billion over the next five years will be dedicated to tackling deferred maintenance needs, and $900 million per year into perpetuity will be invested from the LWCF for new conservation and recreation opportunities.