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Comer, McConnell-backed legislation to bolster LBL’s federal support advances

Kentucky Tourism

A new bill backed by Kentucky congressmen could increase federal support for Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in western Kentucky.

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative James Comer announced Thursday that the Land Between the Lakes Recreation and Heritage Act had advanced out of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and National Resources and will now go to the full Senate for consideration.

Introduced by McConnell in April, the bill could secure the national recreation area more federal resources for maintenance and expand recreation opportunities. It would also see the U.S. Forest Service’s financial support increase, make changes to the recreation area’s advisory board, reallocate user fees to improve LBL and support further law enforcement capacity in LBL and surrounding counties. The bill also better defines the special status of the families that once lived in LBL, guaranteeing their descendants’ access to cemeteries within the territory.

Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area encompasses over 171,000 acres in Kentucky and Tennessee between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. The recreation area provides a place for fishing, boating, camping and hiking in Kentucky’s Lyon and Trigg counties, attracting millions of tourists each year.

McConnell, the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, was optimistic about the legislation’s chances moving forward and “safeguarding one of Kentucky’s finest natural treasures for future generations.”

“Today’s Committee vote on the Land Between the Lakes Recreation and Heritage Act is a resounding victory for the LBL community stakeholders who have worked for decades to protect this important landmark,” McConnell said in a release. “Congressman Comer and I coordinated closely with these local leaders to ensure the improved funding and oversight in this legislation will help solve the long list of issues facing LBL today.”

Comer said he was also pleased to see the bill advance.

“Land Between the Lakes is one of Kentucky’s crown jewels – an extraordinary legacy to be taken care of and shared with generations to come,” said Congressman Comer. “I will continue to work with local stakeholders, former residents, and Senator McConnell to advance this important legislation and preserve this treasured area.”

A native of western Kentucky, Operle earned his bachelor's degree in integrated strategic communications from the University of Kentucky in 2014. Operle spent five years working for Paxton Media/The Paducah Sun as a reporter and editor. In addition to his work in the news industry, Operle is a passionate movie lover and concertgoer.
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