Protected Area of Tygarts State Forest in Carter County Increases

Property walkthrough at the location held today with acquisition partners

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 19, 2022) – A state forest and endangered bat habitat managed by the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) in eastern Kentucky is increasing, thanks to the acquisition of a 238-acre addition to Tygarts State Forest in Carter County.

The new parcel, known as the McGlone tract, will increase the size of the state forest to 1,184 acres. With the addition, this corridor of state-managed property will total more than 3,100 acres and include the Tygarts State Forest and the adjacent Carter Caves State Resort Park and the Bat Cave State Nature Preserve.

The land was purchased with funding provided by the Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund (IBCF), a bat and forest conservation partnership between the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust (KNLT) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Located along KY-2 south of Jordan Fork Road, the area is within a known swarming habitat of the federally endangered Indiana bat and the federally threatened northern long-eared bat. The caves in this area contain Kentucky’s largest hibernating population of endangered Indiana bats,” said Lee Andrews, the administrator of the USFWS’s Kentucky Field Office in Frankfort.

The tract is located only 1.5 miles from a known hibernaculum for both bat species.  Prior to beginning hibernation in the fall, bats will migrate to the hibernaculum from their summer home ranges, which could be nearby or hundreds of miles away in other states. Once there, the bats will mate and will forage extensively to add to their fat reserves in order to sustain themselves during the months-long hibernation. 

“We are grateful for the partnership with KNLT and the USFWS that made this acquisition possible,” said Brandon Howard, state forester and director of the Kentucky Division of Forestry. “With this acquisition, we will continue to demonstrate good forest management practices while, supporting bat conservation.”

KDF will be responsible for managing the McGlone tract, including conducting a forest inventory of the property and incorporating the data into the management plan for Tygarts State Forest. KDF will then begin implementing various timber stand improvement techniques, including reforesting open areas in native hardwood trees.

“Conservation projects like this are possible due to the power of partnership. KNLT is grateful to KDF for their leadership, conserving these additional important forested acres in eastern Kentucky,“ said Greg Abernathy, executive director of Kentucky Natural Lands Trust.

“We thank Director Howard and all the staff at KDF for completing this acquisition. For some time, the IBCF has wanted to help a partner conserve additional forests in the area around Carter Caves State Park,” Andrews added.

For more information on the McGlone tract or any of KDF’s state forests, contact State Forest Section Supervisor Jim Bryan at james.bryan@ky.gov.

McGlone Tract

Division of Forestry representatives and others tour the McGlone Tract

McGlone tour

Representatives involved in the acquisition of the McGlone Tract tour the area today, May 19, 2022

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