One of Kentucky’s newest public lands is the 811-acre Marietta Booth tract in Fleming County. Acquired by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources last August, the former tobacco and cattle farm is located less than two miles north of the Clay Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Carlisle.
The new tract borders Fleming Creek, a major tributary of the Licking River. The Marietta Booth area consists of rolling hills, mixed second growth hardwood timber and open ridge-top fields. The relatively flat ridge tops provide for easy walking and beautiful vistas of the Licking River valley, but folks will want to be in good shape before tackling the hills.
Previous farming created a mosaic of large grassland fields and smaller crop fields above wooded slopes. Dominant trees include white oak, red oak, hickory, red cedar, hackberry, black cherry and Osage orange. Some beech and sycamore occur on the lower slopes and along the drainage areas. Wildlife managers are working to convert the cool season grass pastures to the native warm season grasses that will greatly benefit wildlife.
Wildlife species found on the property include white-tailed deer, raccoon, opossum, gray and fox squirrels, fox, coyote and many smaller furbearers and nongame mammals. Birds include game species like dove, turkey, grouse and quail, while sharp-eyed birders may spot red-eyed vireo, yellow-billed cuckoo, Louisiana water thrush and other songbirds.
The area is roadless and does not contain hiking or horse trails. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not allowed on the property. The Marietta Booth tract has some ponds too small for fishing stocking, but suitable for wildlife. Check the hunting guide for current regulations.
Nearby is the 4,901-acre Clay WMA, which features a boat ramp on the Licking River, and miles of old roads, trails and maintained roads. Both Clay and Marietta Booth WMAs are managed as one unit.
The Marietta Booth tract of the Clay WMA is approximately 40 miles north of Lexington. Take US 32 from Carlisle towards Flemingsburg. You will pass Cassidy Creek Road (KY 3315) to the right, which goes to the main portion of Clay WMA. Continue until you cross the Licking River. When you pass through the community of Cowan, watch for signs to the Marietta Booth property on the right. For information on hunting opportunities on this tract or any other WMA, contact the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife information desk at 1-800-858-1549.
Art Boebinger is the public land coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.