GEORGETOWN – Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson Monday joined federal, state and local leaders at a dedication ceremony to officially open the state’s newest wildlife recreation area, in Scott County, for public hunting, fishing, hiking and sightseeing. The Veterans Memorial Wildlife Management Area, named in honor of veterans, will be managed by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and will offer hunting opportunities for deer, turkeys and small game, such as squirrels.
“This land is a unique wildlife area because of its size, location, and convenience to about a third of the state’s population,” Abramson said in a statement issued by the governor's office. “I applaud everyone involved with this project for working together to establish a sustainable wildlife-related area in this part of the Commonwealth.”
Lt. Gov. Abramson was joined by U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Marcheta Sparrow and Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Jonathan Gassett.
“Hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching are already some of Kentucky’s most important industries, and the Veteran’s Memorial Wildlife Management Area will be an economic boon to both Scott County and the Commonwealth as a whole,” Chandler said. “This beautiful land is a fitting tribute to the veterans to whom it is dedicated, and I look forward to Kentuckians enjoying it for decades.”
The Veterans Memorial WMA encompasses nearly 2,500 acres and is accessible by five designated parking areas. The land consists of 74 percent forest area with a small pond and several small streams. The property has a variety of important habitat types for game species and declining migratory birds, reptiles and amphibians, including hardwood forests, shrublands and grasslands.
The trails throughout the Veterans Memorial WMA consist of mowed grassy lanes and old farm road paths made by the previous owner.
The Veterans Memorial WMA has been known to locals through the years by several names – the old Hall Farm, the Beluga Property and more recently as simply Rogers Gap. The area lies north of Rogers Gap Road and east of Interstate 75 to its intersection with U.S. 25.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife completed a decade-long effort to acquire the 2,500-acre property near Georgetown in December 2011.
“Obtaining this property for the people of Kentucky to enjoy was a once-in-lifetime opportunity,” Gassett said. “Finding undeveloped properties of this size in the most populous region of Kentucky is almost impossible. This unique area puts quality wildlife-related recreation literally on doorsteps for millions of Kentucky residents.”
The department used $3.25 million from Kentucky's Wetlands and Stream Mitigation Fund – which is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Kentucky Division of Water – for some of the land purchase and to pay for the restoration of 19 miles of streams and associated headwaters.
The department also added $3 million in federal grant money specifically designated for fish and wildlife land acquisition. No state tax revenues or Kentucky Fish and Game Fund dollars were used.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife oversees 84 other wildlife management areas around the state, totaling 536,000 acres. Kentucky has 110 public hunting areas totaling 1.55 million acres, including land managed by numerous agencies, such as the Daniel Boone National Forest.
The Veterans Memorial WMA is located approximately 3 miles north of Georgetown and 2 miles south of Sadieville, adjacent to I-75 between Exit 129 south and Exit 136 north.
From Exit 129, go west on Cherry Blossom Way (KY 620) approximately ½ mile to U.S. 25. Turn right (north) on U.S. 25 approximately 1.7 miles to Rogers Gap Road (KY 620) and turn right (east). After crossing under the I-75 overpass, look for signs and the parking on the left.
GPS coordinates to the entrance are 38.302022, -84.557736.