The property came to the attention of the Campbell Conservancy when it was listed for sale in 2006. The Conservancy pursued private funding to purchase the property and ultimately turned to the Campbell Country Conservation District to assist. Being a governmental unit of the state, the Conservation District was eligible to apply for, and received, a grant through the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund. Revenue for the fund comes from the sale of nature license plates, the state portion of the un-mined minerals tax, and environmental fines. In August 2008, the Conservation District purchased 135 acres of land. The Campbell Conservancy, with the Campbell County Fiscal Court, acquired an additional five acres between Riffle Creek and Hwy 915. This parcel has since been deeded to the Conservation District. The combined area is now known as the Hawthorne Crossing Conservation Area.
The Conservation District has been working with their partners, the Campbell Conservancy and Campbell County Fiscal Court, to develop the final resource management plan. Over the past several years, the biological inventory and archaeological assessment have been completed, as have consultations with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and experts in historical preservation. These inventories and assessments are being incorporated into the final resource management plan that will detail how the property will be restored and managed in the future. Use of the property is governed by a conservation easement placed on the property at the time of purchase.
Several new opportunities have recently developed that will enable the Conservation District to maximize the financial resources available for management of the property. The Northern Kentucky University Center for Applied Ecology received approval for a project through the Northern Kentucky Stream & Wetland Restoration Program that will help control invasive species, such as bush honeysuckle, on approximately 44 acres of the property. The project will also enhance wetland areas and re-establish native plants on the same 44 acres. The Northern Kentucky Stream and Wetland Restoration Program, often referred to as the in-lieu fee mitigation program, is fully funded by fees assessed to developers to compensate for losses of aquatic resources in Northern Kentucky.
The property is currently closed to public use.
Boundary marking has been completed. Possible routes for public access to the property are being investigated and more information needs to be gathered and verified before those options can be evaluated. The Campbell County Conservation District and Campbell Conservancy are also applying for other grants and locating additional resources to accomplish work on the property. Restoration work will begin on the Heritage Tract after a resource management plan is developed and approved by the Heritage Land Conservation Fund Board.
To Protect You, Our Neighbors, property lines are being marked with a red line around trees and fence posts. This will be done in a manner that is not obtrusive, but clearly marks the boundary of the Heritage Tract. Rules for the property will be posted at each corner and at strategic sites, including entry areas.
When the property is opened to the public, some areas may be restricted based on the sensitivity of what is being protected or for safety reasons.
When the property is open to the public, activities that will be permitted are:
• Nature Study, including authorized scientific research
• Canoe/Kayak launch (depending on determination of access to a suitable site)
What will not be permitted:
• Use of all-terrain vehicles and other motorized vehicles (except for maintenance work, law enforcement, and emergency vehicles)
• Overnight parking or camping
• Hunting, fishing or trapping
• Bicycling or Mountain Biking
• Horseback Riding
• Pets, including leashed dogs, with the exception of service animals
• Feeding wildlife
• Fires (except as a management tool)
• Collecting plants, animals, soil, rocks or other specimens, including shells, berries, nuts, mushrooms and wildflowers
• Removal, disturbance or defacement of natural and built features
• Introduction of exotic plant or animal species (those that are not native to a particular area)
Please visit the Conservation District's Hawthorne Crossing web page.
or contact the Conservation District - 859-635-9587