State buys McCreary County land along the Little South Fork

The state has bought 998 acres in McCreary County to help protect a high-quality section of the Little South Fork of the Cumberland River, according to a news release issued Friday.

Part of the Little South Fork is a Kentucky Wild River. The river provides habitat for a wide range of mussels and fish, including one, the palezone shiner, which is an endangered species.

The fish is known to exist in only one other river in the United States, according to the news release.

The state paid $1.77 million for the land, according to the Energy and Environment Cabinet.

The money came from the Heritage Land Conservation Fund, which is funded from the sale of nature license plates and the collection of unmined mineral taxes and environmental fines.

The money can be used to buy areas with rare habitats and endangered species or that are important to migratory birds, among other things.

The tract the state bought in McCreary County includes forested land, grasslands, a 600-foot-high knob known as the Pilot, and nearly 2.5 miles of frontage on the wild river corridor, according to the state news release.