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Hidden Treasures:

Flat Lick Falls

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ne of Jackson County’s greatest hidden treasures is now open to the public. Flat Lick Falls, located just off Hwy. 421 near Gray Hawk, is a waterfall along Flat Lick Creek that cascades down 28 feet to a crystal clear pool below. The waterfall was once on private property and for years was only enjoyed by trespassers who would sneak in to swim in the cool water at its base or take in the views from the rocky outcropping at its peak. But Flat Lick Falls now belongs to Jackson County and is being transformed into a public park for everyone to enjoy. Now that the property is public, Judy Schmitt, a volunteer project coordinator, says the 10-foot deep pool at the base of the falls is the only public swimming area in Jackson County. “Flat Lick Falls is one of the real treasures of Jackson County,” she says. “When the weather is nice and school is out, there is almost always someone swimming there.” Schmitt says the more than 86-acre area was once three tracts of land owned by Hilda Hays and her family, Wayne and Silvia Hays and Leo Hays. In 2007, the Hays families agreed to sell the land to the county with the stipulation that it be turned into a public park. "We purchased the land with a combination of grant monies, gifts and donations," Schmitt says. Some of the bigger money came from the Jackson County Empowerment Zone, and PRTC gave a nice donation. A lot of individuals gave a few dollars here and a few dollars there to secure the land. "

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Flat Lick Falls is a 28-foot waterfall near Gray Hawk. The public is now welcome to enjoy its scenic beauty. The Jackson County Fiscal Court and a volunteer group, Friends of Flat Lick Falls, are seeking matching funds to develop the land further. So far, volunteers have cleared the property and built several small bridges, a viewing platform and about five miles of hiking trails around the falls. The county also cleared a parking area and is in the process of building restrooms and a bath house. Schmitt says the community has rallied together in support of the project. “This project has received more support thus far than any project I have ever worked on,” she says. More land is available around the falls, and Schmitt says county officials are attempting to acquire additional funds to develop “passive recreation activities,” such as more hiking and nature trails, photography and wildlife viewing areas, rappelling, camping and picnicking areas. The Friends of Flat Lick Falls is a volunteer group that organized to donate their time to develop and maintain the Flat Lick Falls Scenic and Recreational

Area. This group is open to all who are willing to help. The group hopes to secure grant money and donations that would help match grant funds for the future development of the Flat Lick Falls Scenic and Recreational area to include picnic shelters, a lodge and campsites with RV access.  For more information about Flat Lick Falls or if you are interested in donating to the project, contact Schmitt at 606364-2024 or visit www.jacksoncountyky. us/tourism/flatlickfalls.html.

DIRECTIONS: Take U.S. 421 to Gray Hawk. At the junction of U.S. 421 and Kentucky 1071, turn west on Hays Road and travel 100 feet. Turn left on Lower Hays Road and travel 1 mile, then turn right (just before the low water bridge) and go 1/2 mile. Then turn left into Flat Lick Falls Recreational and Scenic Area. Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative

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Sept/Oct 2013 People's Connection  

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