HARLAN, Ky. (AP) — An environmental preservation group has purchased nearly 2,000 acres in an effort to preserve lands around Pine Mountain in far eastern Kentucky.

Kentucky Natural Lands Trust aims to preserve lands around a 125-mile stretch (201 kilometers) in southeastern Kentucky it calls the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor.

The group has been working for years to acquire land on Pine Mountain, adding more than 4,000 acres in Bell and Harlan counties to the corridor in recent years. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported . The latest purchase is the largest acquisition in the history of that effort.

"Large landscapes of intact ecosystems are essential to the human and economic health of local, regional and global communities," Hugh Archer, executive director of the trust, said in a news release. "Pine Mountain is one of the most biodiverse regions of the commonwealth and is a place filled with natural beauty and natural capital."

The corridor is a migratory route and refuge for thousands of species of birds, animals and plants.

The land involved in the purchase is near Cumberland, in Harlan County, according to the trust. The purchase cost was $2.4 million, Archer said.

The new preserves connect Kingdom Come State Park to the Hensley-Pine Mountain Wildlife Management Area, creating a 7,000-acre protected forest tract, and also connect the E. Lucy Braun State Park Nature Preserve to Kentenia State Forest, forming a 6,000-acre protected forest tract, the trust said.

Archer said the trust bought the land from Kentucky River Properties, a land-holding company that had owned it for more than 80 years.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com