FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission has unanimously selected retired Natural Resources Conservation Service executive Gregory Johnson of Lexington to lead the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources as its next Commissioner.
The Commission took the action at a special called meeting Friday, May 2, at Fish and Wildlife Headquarters in Frankfort.
Johnson, 58, will begin work May 16. A lifetime hunter, angler and outdoorsman, he will become only the eighth commissioner in the department’s 70-year history.
A 1979 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) with a Bachelor of Science Degree in wildlife management and minors in fisheries biology and chemistry, Johnson retired in 2011 after more than 30 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS assists farmers and other land owners, including governments and other federal agencies, in maintaining healthy and productive working landscapes.
“We are extremely pleased to offer Greg this opportunity and that he has accepted,” said Commission Chairman Stuart Ray. “The Commission conducted an exhaustive and thorough six-month-long nationwide search to find the right person to head one of this country’s premier fish and wildlife agencies. And that is precisely what we accomplished.
“Greg comes to us with a unique combination of a solid resource professional background, years of successful executive leadership experience, and is a lifetime hunter, angler and outdoorsman,” Ray said.
Johnson grew up farming in the northern Illinois community of Wasco. He graduated St. Charles High School and became a fishing guide in northern Wisconsin helping clients pursue northern pike and walleye.
A client from Eastern Kentucky University suggested Johnson come to Kentucky to pursue his education.
He began his career with the U.S. Forest Service research station in Berea working with Kentucky and Appalachia coal companies researching effective and efficient methods of reclaiming strip mines.
He soon moved to the USDA’s Soil Conservation Service, the predecessor to today’s NRCS, as district conservationist for Wayne, McCreary and Russell counties. In 1990, he assumed area conservationist duties for 28 counties and administrative responsibilities for 27 field offices. He supervised a diverse staff of program and technical experts, and 17 district conservationists.
Subsequently, he would serve as the NRCS State Resource Specialist for Kentucky and then another eight years in the same capacity for the eight-state Midwest region.
His selection to USDA’s Senior Executive Development Program took him to Washington D.C. in 2004. There he served in multiple USDA-NRCS Conservation, Technical, and Financial senior executive level director positionsuntil he retired in 2011.
As director of the Financial Assistance Program Division, he was responsible for an annual appropriation in excess of $1 billion, helping farmers and ranchers across the country plan and implement conservation practices.
“Kentucky’s hunting and fishing heritage is among the richest anywhere,” said Johnson, “I am excited to become a part of that. This agency’s wildlife and fisheries successes are well recognized among professionals everywhere, and I am looking forward to continuing and building upon those traditions.“
This is not just work or a job for me,” he said. “Fish and wildlife conservation is what I have been committed to my whole life. It is what I do. It is who I am.”
Johnson lives in Lexington with his wife, Melynda. His daughter, Kendra, is a Tates Creek Middle School teacher and girls basketball coach. His son, Ryan, is completing the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training Academy to become a University of Kentucky police officer.
May 1, 2014
MissyMay is here!! Looking forward to a very eventful month here on the ridge! Lots of info to send out this month on clinics and golf deals!!
CONGRATULATIONS! Our very own volunteer Ron Maynard for his Hole in One on April 21st, on hole #8, 120 yards using his pitching wedge. Witnesses were a crowd of fellow volunteers who all play together weekly and have a great time: Rayburn May, Lewis Marcum, Rick Blakenship, Doug Newsome, Milton Terry, Glen Boyd, and Leonard Wellman.
Spring Golf Outings!
Clinics for Ladies and Juniors begin in May!!! All clinics will run throughout the summer.
Here are May dates:
2014 Junior Golf Program
May 4, 11, 18, 25
June 1, 8
Pee Wee Age 4 to 6
1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Juniors 7 and up
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $10.00 per Junior per dayLadies Clinics
$15.00 per player per day
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 pm.
May 6, 13, 20, 27
MEN'S GOLF LEAGUE!! If you are interested in playing in the Lawrence County Men's Golf League applications are available BUT please also contact the pro shop or send an email to email@example.com or email Bill Jackson, firstname.lastname@example.org. The league would like to create a database of all men's league emails so they may communicate with everyone via email.
GOLF DEALS AND STEALS!!!
NEW! Hometown Appreciation Day!! Every Wednesay, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. $25.00 per player, includes golf and cart. If you live or work in either Lawrence County or Wayne County we want to say THANK YOU! for your support of Eagle Ridge Golf Course at Yatesville Lake State Park. Come out on a Wednesday and enjoy a discounted round of golf. **You must show proof of living in or working in Lawrence County or Wayne County!!!
SENIOR DAY! Every Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. $25.00 per player, includes golf and cart. Age 62 +
2014 Golf Passes are available and may be purchased now! We offer single, senior, couples, and family passes. For a full listing of pass options and pricing please visit our website at www.parks.ky.gov. The $25.00 Golf Card is now available. Purchase a discount card for $25.00 and receive reduced rates on four rounds of golf/cart and your fifth round is FREE. This is over a $50.00 savings!! NEW this year is that there isn't an expiration date of these cards as in the past years!! This card is only valid at Eagle Ridge Golf Course.GOLFNOW! All state park golf courses are now live with GolfNow. Log on and book your tee time online for a discounted rate.
MAY Pro Shop Hours:
Sunday to Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Last tee time is 6:30 p.m.
Golf Carts must be returned to the parking lot by 8:45 p.m.
FYI!!! The golf course is slated to go under construction around June 16th, switching over from Bent to Bermuda grass. I will keep you updated on the status of the project as it is given to me.See you at the course!Missy Kennedy, PGA Head Golf ProfessionalMissy.Kennedy@ky.govEagle Ridge Golf CourseYatesville Lake State Park(606) 673-4300 phone(606) 673-4301 fax
By Greg BirdMcCreary County VoiceTypically every hunter has a story about “the one that got away.” But for local sportsman Johnny Barnett, the one that got away was actually himself.Kentucky BobcatCalling it an amazing and unbelievable experience, Barnett was attacked by a bobcat during a hunt, and quick action by his hunting partner and son may have saved him from serious injury at the very least.Barnett and his 16-year old son Aaron were turkey hunting early Sunday morning in the woods of northern McCreary County, near Goodin Ridge, on their first hunting trip of the young turkey season.Around 7:30 a.m. Barnett had spotted a hen a short distance away and began calling the bird with a striker, hoping to draw it closer so his son could get a clear shot at the bird.Turkeys are notoriously keen to notice movement, so both hunters, bedecked in full camouflage, were as still as possible. As Barnett worked the call as stealthily as possible, a bobcat must have thought he had cornered breakfast and jumped at the hunter.“I heard something in the leaves and looked to my left,” Barnett said. “The cat was already in the air. I just had enough time to duck my head and it landed on my back.”Barnett’s son witnessed the attack and acted bravely, firing his shotgun off to the side to scare the big cat away. Barnett praised his son for his quick thinking and heroic act.“If it wasn’t for his gunshot, it could have been worse,” he said. Barnett was wearing a padded turkey vest at the time, and that extra layer prevented the cat from inflicting any injury from his initial pounce. Estimating the bobcat as weighing between 20 and 25 pounds, Barnett said he distinctly felt the back paws push off his back as the cat leapt away.The gunshot managed to scare the cat away, but a single pellet did ricochet off a nearby tree and ended up striking Barnett in the wrist. The wound was minor, and both hunters exited the woods and went to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital where Barnett’s wrist was x-rayed. The pellet had not hit bone, nor caused any serious damage, so doctors opted to leave it in. Barnett said he would cherish the small wound as a reminder of Aaron’s quick thinking in an emergency.Barnett said the event would not dissuade him from hunting again in the future. “You have to be so still when hunting turkeys, but it will be hard for me not to keep looking around me the next time we’re in the woods,” he laughed. “When you’re hunting, you never know if you’re the one being hunted.”Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Biologist Mike Strunk said Barnett’s encounter was rare, but not an unbelievable occurrence. “You don’t think about it, but a lot of times as hunters, we are making calls, and the bobcats are out hunting for prey,” he said. “It makes sense, a turkey hen would be a natural food source for a bobcat.”
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