The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund helped acquire the original 34,560 out of 60,000 total acres.
There are ample opportunities to experience nature at Peabody thanks to the KHLCF partnership with the Conservation Fund, a Washington, DC, based nonprofit who initiated public ownership of this huge conservation area. In the 1980s the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources began working with Peabody Coal to manage Canada goose populations on its land holdings; this relationship eventually led to the purchase of nearly 35,000 acres to create the Peabody Wildlife Management Area. The site has nearly doubled in size since that initial acquisition. While most of this property has been altered by surface mining to a degree that makes restoration to its original habitat impractical, the KDFWR has managed the site to create diverse habitats that benefit a myriad of species. The landscape ranges from wet bottomlands to low dry hills, vast expanses of newly planted native warm-season grasslands, with countless ponds and lakes created as a byproduct of the mining operations. The wooded areas are mainly maturing second growth oak-hickory forest. Habitat is ideal for the rare copperbelly watersnake and many other reptiles and amphibians. The site is particularly rich in bird life, with over 90 species recorded during midwinter bird counts. Short-eared owls nest here, and bald eagles are often seen.
The site is managed for hunting and fishing, as well as birding and other forms of passive recreation. Since this area is so large there are many access points off of KY 70, KY 369, KY 176 and US 62 in Muhlenberg County. A user permit must be purchased for access, they are available locally wherever fishing licenses are sold. Please visit Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for maps and more information.