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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Conserving Kentucky's Natural Areas

Established in 1990, the  Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund (KHLCF) is the primary source of state funding for the purchase and management of natural areas.  It is used to purchase land from willing sellers for nature preserves, state parks, state forests, wildlife management areas, environmental education areas, wild rivers and wetlands. The KHLCF Board protects each site in perpetuity with a conservation easement or deed 

restriction. Legislation established four priorities for land conservation:

  • Areas that are a habitat for rare and endangered species.
  • Areas important to migratory birds.
  • Areas that perform important natural functions that are subject to alteration or loss.
  • Areas to be preserved in their natural state for public use, outdoor recreation and education.

Revenue for the fund primarily comes from the sale of Kentucky nature license plates, unmined minerals tax on coal, and environmental fines. The Kentucky Environmental Education Council receives the first $150,000 of environmental fines each year for environmental education programs.

The KHLCF Board is made up of nine members appointed by the governor. The Program is administered by the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves (OKNP). To date, the fund has helped protect and conserve over 94,000 acres of Kentucky's natural areas on 172 tracts and in 67 counties.


​A non-competitive​ portion of the fund is dedicated to Kentucky state government agencies to purchase and manage land for existing conservation programs. The competitive funding is available for Kentucky local government, state college or universities, and private, nonprofit land trust organizations. A permanent deed restriction (state agency) or conservation easement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky will be placed on all properties acquired with Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Funds. Request an application/receive more information here and review the dates below for application deadlines. Once an approved property is acquired, the managing agency must submit a one-time Final Resource Management Plan (FRMP) for board approval in addition to annual management reports submitted to OKNP. 

​​KHLCF Board Meetings

​​The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Board meets quarterly to review: new project applications, compliance items, FRMPs​, and other board business. Please see the KHLCF 2023 Dates​ for application deadlines and board meeting dates (also listed below). ​All materials must be submitted by the application deadline in order to be considered at the upcoming board meeting. Late items will be pushed to the next board meeting date. ​​​

KHLCF Board 2023 Dates

​Applications Due
​Meeting Dates
​December 15, 2022
​Wednesday, January 18, 2023 
​February 15, 2023
​Wednesday, April 19, 2023 
​May 17, 2023
​Wednesday, July 19, 2023
​August 16, 2023
​Wednesday, October 18, 2023  ​


KHLCF Board Members
NameEmailPhone NumberTitleArea of Responsibility
Commissioner Russel Meyermailto: Chairman

Representing the Kentucky Department of Parks

Sunni Carrmailto: sunni.carr@ky.gov502-892-4446Representing the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves

​Representing the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves

Hugh Archermailto: Vice-Chair

​Representing environmental organizations

Dr. Shannon Galbraith-Kentmailto: galbras@thomasmore.edu270-789-7637Member

​Representing the Kentucky Academy of Sciences

Charlotte Turner McCoy Member

Representing citizens of the Commonwealth with experience in land acquisition

Jimmy Cantrell Member

​Representing the League of Kentucky Sportsmen

Ted Jessup Member

​Representing agricultural interests

Commissioner Gordon Slonemailto: Member

​Representing the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources

Derek Beardmailto: Member

​Representing the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources


These short films highlight the rich biological and historical diversity of several sites in the KHLCF Program. "Kentucky Naturally" is an Emmy-winning program featuring many KHLCF protected natural areas.  "The History of Nature" dives into the intricately linked stories of nature and history. The essence of each held in the land, and efforts to conserve the preserve th​​ese important places in the Commonwealth is a story that deserves its own consideration. Both films ​produced by WKU PBS and KHLCF.​

Kentucky Nature License Plates

Kentucky Nature License Plates

Purchase Nature Plates for your vehicle. Money from the sale of the plate goes into a fund for purchasing natural areas to be left as wild places held in trust for future generations.

Kentucky Nature License Plates
KHLCF aquired property


Information on KHLCF applications for funding and management resources.

KHLCF Applications
KHLCF Annual Report Cover

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