About Us

Eastern newt, red eft stage ~ photo by Greg Abernathy, KNLT


Our Story

Taking in the viewWe are a state-wide land trust committed to preserving our diminishing natural places, protecting our rich biodiversity and ensuring a future that will continue to inspire new generations of environmental stewards.

Kentucky Natural Lands Trust 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. A group of longtime friends and some of Kentucky’s top conservationists joined forces to form KNLT and launch the campaign to raise funds for preservation of Blanton Forest, the largest old-growth forest remaining in the state.

Our efforts have expanded into a variety of conservation projects across the state and currently include the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor, the largest landscape level project ever undertaken in the state. Through partnerships with government agencies, nonprofits, corporations and private individuals we have protected thousands of acres of wildlands.


Our People

KNLT OutingStaff

Greg Abernathy, Executive Director
Hugh Archer, Senior Project Specialist
Donna Alexander, Program Manager
Nicole Breyette, Development Director
Angie Allman, Development Associate
Preston Lacy, Stewardship Director
Derrick Lindsay, Forest Steward


Kelly D. Bartley, Board Chair
Attorney, Dentons Bingham Greenebaum LLP
Lexington, KY
Mo McKnight Howe
Owner, Revelry Boutique Gallery
Louisville, KY
Laurel Fuson, Vice Chair
Louisville, KY
Laura Keller
Retired Attorney, Stites & Harbison
Lexington, KY
Bert Lyons , Secretary & Treasurer
Former Assistant Adjunct Professor, University of Louisville
Eminence, KY
Kathleen Shelton
Philanthropy Advisor
Portland, OR
Edward Allgeier
Former Real Estate Appraiser, Allgeier Company
Louisville, KY
Herb E. Smith
Co-Founder Appalshop, Filmmaker
Whitesburg, KY
Dr. Sara Ash
Professor of Biology, University of the Cumberlands
Williamsburg, KY
Julia Taylor
Associate, Strobo Barkley PLLC
Frankfort, KY
Donald S. Dott, Jr.
Chair, KY Land Trusts Coalition
Louisville, KY
Zeb Weese
Executive Director, Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves
Frankfort, KY
Susan Hamilton
Conservation Planning Consultant
Louisville, KY
Jack A. Wilson
Former Administrator in Environmental Protection
Lexington, KY


Marc Evans, Senior Science Advisor
Retired Senior Ecologist, KY State Nature Preserves
Frankfort, KY
Dan Mohn
Development & Philanthropy Advisor
St. George’s Island, FL
Rebecca Allan
Visual Artist
Bronx, NY
John Potter
Former State Circuit Court Judge for Jefferson County
Louisville, KY
Jim Coffman
Real Estate Broker
Shelbyville, KY
Erik Reece
Author & English Professor, University of Kentucky
Versailles, KY
James G. Kuhns, Sr., M.D.
Retired Pathologist
Louisville, KY
Zoé Strecker
Visual Artist, Writer & Art Professor, Transylvania University
Lexington, KY
Judith McCandless
CPA & Former Environmental Planning Consultant
Louisville, KY



Partnerships are key to our conservation successes. With limited funding for land acquisition partnering and collaborating with local, regional and global organizations is essential to our effort. We have successfully cultivated a strong and wide-reaching group of private, nonprofit and government agency partners.

Federal Partners:


State Partners:


Nonprofit Partners:

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Private Partners:



News & Wildlands Blog

  • KNLT Expands the Laden Trail Preserve on Pine Mountain (7/8/2020) - Kentucky Natural Lands Trust (KNLT) has protected an additional 83 acres of the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor expanding the Laden Trail Preserve in Harlan County. The newly protected wildlands are on the south face of the mountain adjacent to Kentenia State Forest and near the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Initially established in 2019, the preserve ...
  • KNLT Welcomes New Board and Staff Leadership (6/29/2020) - Kentucky Natural Lands Trust is happy to welcome new leadership into our Board of Directors and staff team. Kelly Bartley, an environmental law attorney with Dentons Bingham Greenebaum LLP, was recently elected Board Chair. Nicole Breyette joined the staff team in February as Development Director. The Board also elected a founding member, Bert Lyons, as ...
  • 50th Earth Day | KNLT 25th (4/22/2020) - Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the beginning of the modern environmental movement. So much has unfolded worldwide with this movement over the last 50 years although there is much more work to be done. Here in Kentucky, this movement includes the formation of KNLT, and this year we are celebrating our ...
  • KNLT Establishes the Granshire Branch Preserve in Whitley County (1/31/2020) - In late December, Kentucky Natural Lands Trust (KNLT) protected another 127 acres creating the Granshire Branch Preserve on Pine Mountain in Whitley County. The preserve lies within one of the most remote regions of the Commonwealth and builds upon our conservation efforts along Laurel Fork over the last decade. The newly protected wildlands are adjacent ...

Visit our News Archive & Wildlands Blog Archive.


Strategic Plan

The Plan

The Kentucky Natural Lands Trust (KNLT) 2015-2020 Strategic Plan will serve as a guide toward implementing KNLT’s goals for the next five years. This executive summary provides an overview of the Strategic Plan. It is our hope that this Plan will guide us on the path to protecting, connecting and restoring, for current and future generations, all the beauty and benefits of our Kentucky wildlands.


KNLT is a statewide land trust committed to preserving our diminishing natural places, protecting our rich biodiversity and ensuring a future that will continue to inspire new generations of environmental stewards.

Our First 20 Years

KNLT began 20 years ago when a group of friends came together to protect Blanton Forest, the Commonwealth’s largest known old-growth forest. The endeavor resulted in the establishment of a state nature preserve that continues to grow in size with KNLT's assistance.


  • Established and expanded Blanton Forest, a 3,510 acres state nature preserve that protects the largest remaining tract of old growth forest in the state
  • Launched the Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor, the largest conservation effort in Kentucky history, to protect the 125-mile long ridgeline in southeastern Kentucky
  • Protected over 7,000 acres of wildlands through direct purchase, primarily on Pine Mountain and near Bernheim-Fort Knox
  • Assisted in protecting over 25,000 of wildlands across the state (e.g. Big Bone Lick State Park, Clarks River National Wildlife Refugee, Big Rivers WMA/State Forest)
  • Evolved into a key conservation organization in state and region with private, nonprofit and government agency conservation partners

Our successes come from a dedicated board and staff, extensive partnership network and committed donor base.

Current Efforts & Opportunities

KNLT works to protect, connect and restore wildlands that embody the natural beauty and heritage of our state, from the eastern mountains to the western swamps. Wildlands both sustain and inspire us. They are home to many unique plants and animals that collectively form a living support system that provides clean water to drink and air to breath. Large connected landscapes that protect wildlands and migratory corridors are essential to establishing resilient areas that enable species and natural communities to adopt and survive as climate shifts.

Kentucky is a reflection of the world, a place of amazing biodiversity under intense pressure from natural resource extraction and urbanization. Wildlands are critically important to sustaining local, regional and global communities; they are a foundation and essential part of the transitional economy. We must work to protect our sacred land, air and water. Having lost so much already, it is essential that we protect and steward what remains.



2018 Financial Audit and 990:

KNLT Audit KNLT 990


Contact Us

email: info@KNLT.org
phone: (859) 986-0744
mail: 433 Chestnut Street, Berea, KY 40403
physical address: 213A Short Street, Berea, KY 40403
We welcome visitors but recommend calling to make sure we aren't out protecting wildlands.

Protecting, Connecting & Restoring Wildlands

Kentucky Natural Lands Trust • (859) 986-0744 • info@KNLT.org • Copyright © 2020