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 to the Archer-Benge State Nature Preserve, a nearly 2,000-acre preserve that KNLT worked with conservation partners (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves & Kentucky Heritage Lands Conservation Fund) to protect. Located along the Kentucky-Tennessee border this stretch of Pine Mountain is protected by a mixture of state and nonprofit conservation lands totaling over 7,000 contiguous acres.
Pine Mountain provides habitat for thousands of species of plants and animals; over 100 of these species are considered rare, some found nowhere else on the planet. The Granshire Preserve protects contiguous forest that is known summer and swarming habitat for the endangered northern long-eared and Indiana bats. The new preserve protects the headwaters of Laurel Fork, a tributary of the Cumberland River with extraordinary biodiversity. This portion of the Laurel Fork watershed provides habitat for rare plants such as the golden club, rock harlequin and blue mountain mint, as well as, populations of the endangered Cumberland elktoe (mussel) and Cumberland darter (fish).
As KNLT enters our 25th year, we are amplifying our efforts to protect, connect and restore wildlands. KNLT continues to be a conservation leader, spearheading innovative conservation projects that leverage the power of partnership in the pursuit of on-the-ground success. These successes are made possible by our broad support base of individuals, board members, advisors, longtime major supporters and key partners. Together we are ensuring a wild future!
Learn more about our Pine Mountain Wildlands Corridor project: knlt.org/pmwc/
Get involved today: knlt.org/get-involved/