Places We Protect

Archer Benge State Nature Preserve ~ photo by Greg Abernathy, KNLT

Since forming in 1995 KNLT has protected over 7,000 acres of wildlands, assisted in the protection of over 25,000 additional acres through our partnerships and established itself as a key conservation organization in the state and region. Our successes come from a dedicated board and staff, extensive partnership network and committed donor base.
KNLT protection numbers


Our Preserves

Blanton Forest Tracts

KNLT helped raise the necessary funds and assisted the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission in purchasing the land that became part of the Blanton Forest State Nature Preserve in the late 1990s. KNLT still owns 10-acres at the entrance to the nature preserve (including the trailhead and parking lot), 40 acres adjoining the east side of the preserve and 43 acres adjoining the northern boundary of the preserve along the ridgeline. The rest is now owned by Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission with KNLT providing stewardship services for the preserve.

Colson-Fitzpatrick Preserve

In early 2012, KNLT received a gift of 140 forested acres on Cannon Creek Lake in Bell County. This property is part of the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor and protects an important public water source. The property had been in the donors' family for many years, and they wished to see it remain in its natural state for everyone's enjoyment. The gift is an inspiration to others who care about the future of their land and Kentucky's forests.

Crooked Creek Preserve

One hundred fifty-five acres of forest land in Bullitt County were protected for conservation purposes through a joint project of Kentucky Natural Lands Trust and Fort Knox. The property is almost completely forested and is part of the Bernheim-Fort Knox Wildlands Corridor. Its large forest cover, waterways, seasonal wetlands, and location in the larger forest block provide for significant conservation value. The property contains mature bottomland hardwood forest with large swamp white oak, sycamore, box elder, and sweetgum. The project was made possible through the U.S. Department of Defense's Army Compatible Use Buffer program.

Hyslope Preserve

Protected on Earth day 2014, the preserve is 46 acres on the south face of Pine Mountain up to the ridge line of Hyslope Gap in the Laurel Fork Watershed. The property is adjacent to KNLT's previous protected lands which is now the 1,864 acre Archer Benge State Nature Preserve and also borders The Nature Conservancy's 215 acre Primroy Creek Preserve.

Little Rock Creek Preserve

In September, 2010, KNLT purchased 82 acres along Little Rock Creek in McCreary County. The property is important because it is bordered by the Daniel Boone National Forest on three sides and contains important habitat for Blackside dace, a federally endangered species, is a small fish about the size of a minnow which requires very clean water for survival. The US Fish and Wildlife Service requested KNLT’s assistance in this purchase.

Salt Trace Gap Preserve

This 966-acre property is located on the south side of Pine Mountain in Harlan County, Kentucky. Although completely forested and an important part of the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor, much of the property had been heavily logged and requires active forest management to help restore it. This preserve is being used as a sustainable forestry demonstration project and is enrolled in MACED’s Forest Opportunities Initiative carbon project. The property also harbors unique wetland features, flowering American chestnut trees, and distinctive orchid sites.

Our Easements

Bernheim-Fort Knox Wildlands Corridor Easements

KNLT is partnering with Fort Knox to purchase and accept donations of conservation easements in the one mile buffer zone around the army post as part of the U.S. Department of Defense's Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB). KNLT is particularly interested in preserving the large forest blocks and wildlife migratory corridor from Bernheim to Fort Knox. KNLT now holds two conservation easements in this area totaling ~308 acres, both easements are mostly forested. KNLT is working closely with Bernheim in this endeavor.

Good Spring Farm

KNLT signed its first conservation easement in 2009 with Peg and Tim Taylor, owners of Good Spring Farm in McCreary County. Good Spring Farm contains 83 acres and has significant conservation values. The property is located in the Upper Cumberland River Watershed and is surrounded by Daniel Boone National Forest. This watershed, and McCreary County in particular, includes the highest concentration of rare species and associated habitat. The property includes a national record “champion” Service Berry tree, native wood rat colonies, filmy fern, old growth forest, green salamanders, rock outcrops, significant water features, trails for environmental education, and plantings of native grasses and forbs. The historic Taylor Family Farm has been in the family for over 150 years, and the main residence and farm was designated by the state as a Kentucky Centennial Farm in 1987.

Lands We Helped Protect

Archer Benge State Nature Preserve

The 1,864-acres preserve was originally purchased by KNLT in two separate tracts from 2011 to 2012 with funding from the Indiana Bat Conservation Fund. It was sold to the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission in 2012 at a significant discount. The land was dedicated in 2013 as the 61st state natures preserve creating the eighth state nature preserve on Pine Mountain. The preserve protects a significant portion of one of the largest forest blocks in Kentucky, which lies in the Laurel Fork watershed. These lands contain significant natural areas that include federally endangered Cumberland elktoe mussels, rare Cumberland arrow darters, numerous rare plants, endemic rare cave beetles, and fall "swarming habitat" for federally endangered Indiana bats. The preserve created a southern anchor for the goal of protecting a 125-mile migratory wildlife corridor, which extends the length of Pine Mountain into Tennessee. The acquisition was a partnership between Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, KNLT, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the estate of the late William Dennis Benge of Fort Wright, Kentucky.

Big Rivers Wildlife Management Area & State Forest

KNLT assisted with the purchase of a 4,241-acre addition to the wildlife management area/state forest that protects habitat for over 40 known rare species and many neotropical birds. The tract contains mature bottomland hardwood forests are home to the federally threatened northern copperbelly water snake and provide important habitat for federally endangered Indiana and gray bats. The acquisition was a partnership between Kentucky Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, U.S. Forest Service, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and KNLT.

Blanton Forest State Nature Preserve

The preserve is located on Pine Mountain in Harlan County and is the largest old growth forest known in Kentucky. KNLT was established in 1995 when a state inventory identified Blanton Forest as one of the most important natural areas in Kentucky and funds were urgently needed to protect it. KNLT helped acquire the more than 2,000 acres of old growth forest that became the state nature preserve. Through our ongoing partnership with Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, the preserve has grown to 3,510 acres. KNLT provides stewardship services for the preserve. The acquisitions have been a partnership between Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, KNLT, Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge

Several inholdings at the refuge totaling 453-acre were purchased protecting important bat habitat and one of the best remaining remnants of xeric-hydric flatwoods in Kentucky. The acquisitions were a partnership between U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge and KNLT.

John James Audubon State Park

A 649-acre tract adjacent to the park was acquired protecting bat and bald eagle habitat. Once incorporated into the park hiking trails for all ages and abilities including those with limited mobility are planned. The acquisition was a partnership between USFWS, Kentucky Department of Parks and KNLT.

E. Lucy Braun State Park Nature Preserve

A 609-acre preserve is on Pine Mountain in Harlan County that contains a variety of habitats and biological diversity. The preserve was protected in 2007 and renamed in 2014 to honor renowned forest ecologist Dr. Emma Lucy Braun. Large sandstone outcrops found throughout the preserve feature gnarly old pitch pines and Virginia pines, colorful mosses and lichens. The acquisition was a partnership between Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Kentucky Department of Parks and KNLT.

Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail

The Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail is a linear state park under development spanning approximately 120 miles from Breaks Inter¬state Park to Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. This long distance backcountry trail is a link of the Great Eastern Trail, a 1,800-mile trail stretching from Alabama to New York. The majority of the trail is within the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor. KNLT has an ongoing partnership with Kentucky Department of Parks (KDP) and the Pine Mountain Trail Conference and has assisted KDP with several acquisitions associated with the trail.

Protecting, Connecting & Restoring Wildlands

Kentucky Natural Lands Trust • (877) 367-5658 • • Copyright © 2018

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