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Ky.gov An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Energy and Environment Cabinet

Division of Water

Division of Water
Wild Rivers Permits

 Rock Creek Wild River  Cumberland Falls Wild River Near Corbin  Aerial View of Rockcastle River by Joan Garrison

 Rock Creek

 Cumberland Falls

 Rockcastle River

Some types of development or land-use activities are strictly prohibited within Wild Rivers corridors. These include, but are not limited to, surface mining, clearcutting of timber, construction of new roads or bridges (except as needed to effect a permitted change of use) and construction of buildings where none existed previously.

Remove a Resource
Generally, a permit is required to remove a resource such as oil or gas, to selectively harvest timber or to introduce a new agricultural use involving the removal of one-half acre or more of timber. Wild Rivers regulations at 401 KAR 4:125 specify the kinds of land-use changes that require a permit.

Utility Right of Way
Construction of any utility right of way across or within a designated Wild River corridor requires written authorization from the secretary of the Energy and Environment Cabinet before any construction activity is initiated. Wild Rivers regulations at 401 KAR 4:125, Section 11 detail the procedures for applying for such approval.

Change of Land Use
Changes of land use within a designated Wild River corridor require a Change-of-Use permit be obtained from the Division of Water (DOW) prior to beginning any construction activity.

Each Change-of-Use permit contains specific standards for protecting water quality, scenic values and other outstanding natural resources within the Wild River corridor. Regulation 401 KAR 4:140 contains performance standards and specifications for each type of land-use change.

The process of obtaining a Wild Rivers Change-of-Use permit takes several months from the time a completed application is submitted to DOW. Wild Rivers regulations at 401 KAR 4:130 detail the procedures for applying for a permit.

For permit applications and questions, see the contact information listed below. Please note that not all potential permitting situations can be detailed here. If you have any questions or need more specific information, please contact program staff.

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