LANCASTER — Garrard County residents and representatives from The Nature Conservancy asked the Fiscal Court on Thursday to act as a conduit for a grant for the Dupree Nature Preserve, anticipated to open this summer.
“The Dupree Preserve is going to be a really exciting addition to The Nature Conservancy properties and a great addition to Garrard County,” said Ken Brooks, a county resident and Nature Conservancy volunteer.
“It’s large enough where you can go out and feel like you’re out there on your own,” said Terry Cook, state director of The Nature Conservancy.
Brooks said a master plan for the preserve was created in the fall.
When completed, the Dupree Nature Preserve will be open to the public year-round from dawn until dusk. There will be hiking trails, including a trail about a mile long that will be relatively flat, according to Brooks, which people of all ages will be able to enjoy the outdoors.
“It will be an ideal spot for public school groups … It will be ideal for senior citizens,” he said, adding that it also will be handicapped-accessible. “It will be the only opportunity of that type on the Palisades. It’s going to be a really special opportunity.”
It also will have restroom facilities, space for school bus parking, access to the river via a floating dock, and a pavilion, offering many educational opportunities, Brooks explained.
To help cover cost, the Nature Conservancy asked the Fiscal Court to facilitate a grant application through the Recreation Trails Program.
“This is a matching program that requires a dollar-per-dollar match. It can be used for development of trails, trailheads and facilities,” Cook said.
He explained that governmental entities are the only ones allowed to apply for the grant.
The Nature Conservancy will provide the funds to match the federal funds.
The Nature Conservancy has been in Kentucky for about 35 years, according to Cook. He explained to the court that the organization works with local groups to purchase land, which it then works to restore and manage.
“The mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends,” Cook said.
Magistrate Fred Simpson commended the agency on doing things to encourage people, particularly younger generations, to want stay in Garrard County.
Garrard to have new nature preserve
Ken Brooks addresses the Garrard County Fiscal Court on Thursday.