The sale of donated land in McLean County and around Beaver Lake in Anderson County helped provide the funds to begin construction of a new dining hall at Camp John Currie on Kentucky Lake beginning this August. This is just one example of the positive impact donated lands can have on conservation education in Kentucky.
“Our camps have been around since the late 1940s,” said Laura Burford, assistant director of the Information and Education Division of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “The buildings are showing their age and some of them need updating so they can continue to provide great experiences to campers for many more decades.”
The original portion of the dining hall at Camp Currie was built in time for the first year of camping there in 1949. “The old dining facility is small and a little outdated,” said Chad Miles, administrative director of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The Foundation helps with funding to improve conservation education infrastructure such as Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s Salato Wildlife Education Center and the department’s summer conservation camps.
“The Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation is committed to assisting in the funding to make this project a reality,” Miles said. “A good working partnership between public and private individuals allowed this to take place.”
The new dining hall will seat up to 240 campers and camp counselors and will be equipped with an audio and visual system for education and entertainment in inclement weather. Demolition of the old dining hall begins this August. The new facility should be ready for the start of the 2017 summer camping season.
“This new dining facility is really exciting for the generations of Kentuckians who went to Camp Currie and those who will attend in the years to come,” Burford said. “The extra space allows all campers and camp counselors to be in the dining hall at the same time. We would not even be able to think about doing this without the support of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation.”
Miles said a large share of the monies for this new project came from the sale of 171 acres of prime McLean County farm land donated by the estate of Lucy Ann Griffin along with some federal matching funds.
Other funds for this new dining facility came from a committee in Paducah that raised $75,000 several years ago for new kitchen facilities at Camp Currie. The kitchen in the new dining facility will be named after retired conservation educator Doug Travis. Travis taught conservation education to over 300,000 children over his 59-year career at Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.
The sale of donated tracts of land on Beaver Lake in Anderson County is another source of funding for this project. A non-profit group bequeathed several lots to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The sale netted nearly $250,000 toward the construction of the dining hall.
These developments are good examples of what can happen through a donation of land to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
“Anyone interested in estate planning through a land gift should contact the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation on our website at www.kentuckywildlife.com,” Miles said. “Your gift could benefit generations of Kentucky children.”
Author Lee McClellan is a nationally award-winning associate editor for Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.