Department of Parks
State Parks Purchase Garrard County Property For New State Park
LANCASTER, Ky. – The Kentucky Department of Parks announced today that it has purchased a 90-acre tract of property along the Kentucky River in Garrard County that will eventually be developed into a state park.
Parks Commissioner J.T. Miller said the property location made it attractive for a park because it’s adjacent to a state nature preserve, near the palisades corridor of the river and is just a few miles from Camp Nelson, a site important in Civil War and African American heritage.
“This is an ideal location because of the great natural beauty and historic sites in the area,” Miller said. The property was purchased for $405,000.
The Department of Parks will ask the Transportation Cabinet to evaluate area roads for access. The department is considering asking if there are any private developers interested in building a lodge on the new property or nearby. If no lodge is built, other options include a campground or cottages.
The Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission has been asked to study linking trails at the 818-acre Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve to the state park property, Miller said.
The funding in the 2005 state budget for the Garrard County land was supported by Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster. “I’ve been interested in studying the possibility of a state park in this area and this property is a big step forward,” Napier said.
Garrard County Judge-Executive John P. Wilson has also been working with the Department of Parks on this project. “We’re excited about this purchase by the Department of Parks and the tourism possibilities it presents for our county,” Wilson said.
Camp Nelson, across the Kentucky River in Jessamine County, was a recruitment camp for African American soldiers during the Civil War. Many recruits brought their families with them and the Army set up a refugee camp. There is also a 30-acre national cemetery at Camp Nelson Heritage Park as well as an interpretive center and museum.
The Kentucky State Park System is composed of 52 state parks plus an interstate park shared with Virginia. The Department of Parks, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, operates 17 resort parks with lodges -- more than any other state. Each year, Kentucky parks draw 7 million visitors and contribute $317 million to the economy. For more information on Kentucky parks, visit our Web site at http://www.parks.ky.gov