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 protects vital forest habitat, as well as the viewshed of the Laden Trail, the most scenic driving route over Pine Mountain, and the proposed route of the Great Eastern Trail.
The recently acquired wildlands add to the overall connectivity along Pine Mountain creating over 3,000 acres of protected contiguous forest. The preserve protects essential terrestrial and aquatic habitat for thousands of species including Indiana and northern long-eared bats, neotropical birds and American black bears. The Laden Trail Preserve straddles the mountain with acreage on the north and south faces safeguarding the headwater streams of the Cumberland and Kentucky rivers.
This acquisition builds upon KNLT’s 25 years of conservation successes protecting Pine Mountain, a 125-mile forested ridgeline stretching from Tennessee through Kentucky to Virginia. Our innovative landscape-scale conservation efforts are aimed at protecting biodiversity and climate resilient landscapes in ways that help local, regional and global communities. We have protected thousands of acres of the mountain through the power of partnership. KNLT has cultivated a strong and wide-reaching group of private, nonprofit and government agency partners.
This conservation project was made possible through funding from the Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kentucky Field Office) along with ongoing support from a broad base of conservation partners, loyal donors, board members and advisors.
Laden Trail aerial photography by Bob Hower, Kentucky Documentary Photographic Project
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