Kentucky Senator Rand Paul introduced an amendment granting authority to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to sell off an unspecified amount of Daniel Boone National Forest near the border of Tennessee.
The amendment called for the sale of forest lands along U.S. Highway 27 from Burnside, Kentucky, to where the highway crosses the state line.
It didn’t describe exactly what lands would be included, it didn’t define what “along” meant and it didn’t prescribe a specific acreage, said Jim Scheff with Kentucky Heartwood, a public lands advocacy organization.
“What does ‘along U.S. 27’ mean? Does it mean most of the national forest land in McCreary County? Does it mean small parcels along the edge? We don’t know. It’s open-ended legislative language,” Scheff said.
The amendment was one of two that Paul sought to include in the Natural Resources Management Act, but both were ultimately left out ahead of a vote on Tuesday. Ultimately, the bill passed out of the Senate on a 92-8 vote without Paul’s amendments.
A second amendment would have bypassed regular forest service procedures to allow access to parts of Lake Cumberland for the purpose of building a marina, Scheff said.
Paul introduced the amendments after hearing from local officials in McCreary County and surrounding areas with concerns about access to waterways and land sales in the area of the national forest, said Kelsey Cooper, a spokeswoman for Paul.
Cooper said the amendments sought “a small amount of land for development,” which would promote tourism and access to the forest and surrounding waterways.
“The federal government has no business standing in the way of Kentuckians accessing their own natural resources, and I’ve been proud to lead the charge on their behalf,” Paul said in a news release.
“These amendments would provide a much-needed opportunity to increase tourism and support new economic growth in the counties surrounding Daniel Boone National Forest and the Lake Cumberland area.”
The Daniel Boone National Forest encompasses more than 700,000 acres and 21 counties, including the Red River Gorge Geological Area and Lake Cumberland, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It also includes portions of southern and eastern Kentucky, sprawling across forested slopes, sandstone cliffs and three large lakes.
Copyright 2019 89.3 WFPL News Louisville. To see more, visit 89.3 WFPL News Louisville.