The Lower Howard’s Creek Nature Preserve in Clark County will grow by 77 acres to a total of 420 acres, state officials announced Wednesday.
The $385,402 land purchase was helped by a grant from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund. That grant was funded in part from the sale of “Nature’s Finest” license plates.
The Lower Howard’s Creek preserve, which opened in 2012, sits near the Kentucky River; its main trailhead begins at the Hall’s on the River restaurant. The conservation fund holds a conservation easement on the property and the forested areas are managed as part of the Kentucky State Nature Preserve system. The new land is to the east of the current boundary, officials said.
The property has the remains of water-powered mills and other buildings along the creek, left from an industrial center that operated there in the 1780s. The mills operated flour and corn meal for export down the Kentucky River to other cities.
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“Lower Howard’s Creek is one of the crown jewels for both the KHLCF and KSNP programs,” said Zeb Weese, executive director of the nature preserve system. “It really has it all — from hiking trails with beautiful scenery, to rare species habitat, to artifacts from Kentucky’s pioneer era. This additional tract is an important piece in the puzzle.”