Lands and Acquisitions

The Daniel Boone National Forest manages nearly 709,000 acres within a proclamation boundary of nearly 2.1 million acres. The Forest Service cannot exchange or purchase land for national forest management outside of this boundary.

Within the proclamation boundary, the national forest lands are fragmented and interspersed with state and private lands. Land adjustment programs allow the Forest Service to acquire lands for the purpose of consolidating national forest system lands and to benefit resource management programs. Land acquisitions on the forest provide increased wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, and watershed protection.

Due to the intermingled land ownerships, providing public access to some areas on the national forest may require rights-of-way on private lands. There is much public demand for use of the national forest surface. The Forest Service administers permits and easements that authorize private occupancy and use of the national forest surface for utilities, road access, communication lines, pipelines, boat docks, and other public needs.

The Daniel Boone National Forest administers approximately 450 special use permits, excluding recreation uses. The forest acquires rights-of-way on a willing seller basis.

Nearly 40 percent of the national forest surface overlies private mineral ownership. Development of the private mineral estate requires compliance with the terms of mineral severance deeds and with respect to all parties according to the rights of the mineral owner and the surface owner.


The Daniel Boone National Forest has one of the best land adjustment programs in Region 8. Challenges of the land adjustment program include landline maintenance, right-of-way acquisition, and resource management in fragmented ownership. The forest has the responsibility of maintaining nearly 4,000 miles of public boundary lines.

The Daniel Boone National Forest has received excellent support for land purchase through strong relationships with The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, and The Conservation Fund. The forest consistently develops an annual purchase program. In recent years the forest has acquired:

  • Inholdings
  • Threatened and endangered species habitat
  • Timberlands
  • Recreation use and development
  • Wetlands
  • Other wildlife resources
  • Watershed areas needing soil and water quality improvements
  • High water quality resources such as the Red River, Rockcastle River and Horse Lick Creek
Districts Cumberland London Stearns Redbird Totals
2016 Acreage Summary, Daniel Boone N.F. as of 9/30/2016
Bath 19,386       19,386
Clay       77,947 77,947
Estill 2,265 3,333     5,598
Harlan       803 803
Jackson   59,900     59,900
Knox       74 74
Laurel   64,985     64,985
Lee 5,822 2,765     8,587
Leslie       52,142 52,142
McCreary     142,771   142,771
Menifee 46,862       46,862
Morgan 13,090       13,090
Owsley   3,848   12,723 16,571
Perry       2,151 2,151
Powell 15,974       15,974
Pulaski   23,454 14,840   38,294
Rockcastle   16,817     16,817
Rowan 62,650       62,650
Wayne     1,174   1,174
Whitley   34,018 12,500   46,518
Wolfe 16,650       16,650
TOTALS 182,699 209,120 171,285 145,840 708,944