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Statutory Duties

‚ÄčThe Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves (KNP) was established in 2018 to manage the cabinet's rare species and natural areas management programs.

  • The State Nature Preserves System was created in 1976 "to promote understanding and appreciation of the aesthetic, cultural, scientific and spiritual values of our unpolluted and unspoiled environment";

  • The Kentucky Wild Rivers Program was created in 1972 "to afford the citizens of the Commonwealth an opportunity to enjoy natural streams, to attract out-of-state visitors, to assure the well-being of our tourist industry, to preserve for future generations the beauty of certain areas untrammeled by man";

  • The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund was created in 1994 to "benefit the citizens of Kentucky [through] the acquisition and maintenance of certain lands for use as state parks, recreation areas, state forests, nature preserves, wildlife management areas, and wetlands";

  • The Rare Plant Program was created in 1994 "to recognize endangered and threatened species of plants for human enjoyment, for scientific purposes, and to ensure their perpetuation as viable components of their ecosystems for the benefit of the people of Kentucky."

Major statutory duties of KNP programs include:

  • To secure for the people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of natural areas by establishing a system of nature preserves.

  • To promote understanding and appreciation of the aesthetic, cultural, scientific and spiritual values of our unpolluted and unspoiled environment.

  • To provide a central clearing house of information for environmental and conservation matters. 

  • To afford the citizens of the Commonwealth an opportunity to enjoy natural streams and to preserve for future generations the beauty of certain areas untrammeled by man through the Kentucky Wild Rivers Program.

  • To benefit the citizens of Kentucky through the acquisition and maintenance of certain lands for use as state parks, recreation areas, state forests, nature preserves, wildlife management areas, and wetlands through administration of the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund.

Laws governing the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves' programs are found online at the Legislative Resource Commission website: