Wednesday June 16, 2010
Otter Creek Park will reopen in 2011
Fish and Wildlife will operate park as outdoor recreational area
Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson announced today that Otter Creek Park will be reopened next year as an outdoor recreational area operated by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, an agency of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
“This is a great opportunity to expand our adventure tourism efforts in an area so close to the Commonwealth’s largest city,” Gov. Beshear said. “This area can be used for many types of recreation and will help tourism and economic development in this region. This is an excellent example of state and local governments working together on a project that benefits the public.”
“This is the best possible scenario for Otter Creek — and for the people who use and love the park,” Mayor Abramson said. “For 21 years, and through five governors, we have tried to work with the state to assume operations. I am grateful to Gov. Beshear for seeing the potential of this amazing tract of land.”
The Fish and Wildlife Commission recently approved efforts to acquire the 2,155-acre park along the Ohio River in Meade County. It was owned by the city of Louisville and was closed in 2009 due to budgetary reasons.
Under the agreement, the property will be known as Otter Creek Outdoor Recreational Area and operated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The recreational area will be the first of its type for the department and will continue to offer trails for hiking, cycling and horseback riding. Future plans call for camping, picnic areas, fishing and hunting during statewide seasons. Safety measures will be imposed during hunting season, such as closing trails and limiting access to the property. Most of the land will eventually be turned over to the fish and wildlife agency. About 200 acres that the city of Louisville paid for will be purchased by Fish and Wildlife.
The department is considering other activities such as rock climbing, canoeing and an expansion of the trail system. The department also plans to use some of the buildings on the property for training fish and wildlife conservation officers.
User fees will be charged to help defray the cost of operating the park.
“The Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet is glad to help work on this agreement because this park is a valuable asset in this region,” Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Marcheta Sparrow said. “As the agency charged with promoting adventure tourism, it is important that we make public lands available for all types of recreational activities for the health and enjoyment of our citizens.”
Under the agreement, Camp Piomingo, operated by the YMCA of Greater Louisville under a lease at Otter Creek, will continue to offer its program to youths.
The acquisition of Otter Creek helps further the department’s goal of conserving and enhancing fish and wildlife resources while providing opportunities for hunting, fishing, boating and other wildlife activities.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources does not receive money from the state’s General Fund. Its budget comes from hunting and fishing fees.