LBL Implements Cost-Saving Fee Structure For Families


Looking to increase the impact and educational footprint of the nation’s youth, and certainly local families, officials with Land Between the Lakes have authorized a new fee structure for the recreational grounds.

During last week’s LBL Advisory Board meeting, Supervisor Jim McCoy and Customer Services Staff Officer Jamie Threatt announced that all children younger than 16 now get in free to all environmental education centers.

The only caveats, they said, will be costs for special programming, a nominal fee for classroom trips and other large school groups, and associated costs required for the operation of the Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory.

Threatt said the decision came after much discussion.

McCoy said the school group fee had to stay in place for key reasons.

And McCoy said he personally felt strong about this move.

That “Recreation Enhancement Act” he referenced is a federal law that was codified in December 2004. It gave federal agencies a long-term, multi-agency recreation fee program, and it authorized said agencies to charge and collect recreation fees on federal recreation lands and waters — which, in turn, went into a general fund.

However, on April 1, LBL officials began their new “Strategic Investment Program,” which will forever shift 5% of all earned revenues to a singular special fund. The ceiling will be $1 million, with all overflow sent back to the general fund. A Strategic Investment Board, made up of program managers, will then create uses for the funds toward “the betterment of Land Between the Lakes.” This can include a wide array of needs, and requires a majority vote from the body before any purchase.

In other old business:

— McCoy said the Hematite Creek Bridge, connecting to the LBL Nature Station, has been condemned, and is in the middle of replacement. A supply chain issue on certain materials has created an 8-to-12-week delay on its fix, but it’s coming. Just before its condemnation, McCoy said an estimate to replace the bridge valued the work between $1.7 and $2.1 million. The State of Kentucky, he added, has answered the call, and an in-house bridge crew brings the price down to $300,000. It should be back in service before May.

— Following conversations with Trigg County Judge-Executive Stan Humphries, McCoy said a contract is in place for a survey, creating a drive-in route for the Golden Pond Overlook. McCoy said the user population has aged, and at the request of civilians, this progress is underway.

— Planting of the chestnut is “ahead of schedule,” per McCoy. Sites have been located for more than 60 seedlings.

— McCoy said officials are reviewing the cost of repaving the Canal Loop trail system, because it is “worn out” and “degraded.”

— Ceasing to call it “eradication” because of reproductive success, McCoy said feral hog control has been successful over the last year. From last efforts to now through on-the-ground trapping and air-to-ground gunnery, nearly 1,300 hogs have been taken.

— As far as law enforcement staffing is concerned, McCoy said the U.S. Forest Service was at capacity until two transfers created recent openings. Now at half strength, successful recruitment has led to the imminent arrival of two replacements. Furthermore, advertisement has begun for a permanent patrol captain position. Cooperative law enforcement agreements are underway with Stewart, Lyon and Trigg counties.

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