Kentucky Natural Lands Trust (KNLT) has acquired 376 acres on the north face of Pine Mountain establishing the Laden Trail Preserve. The land is in Harlan County near the Pine Mountain Settlement School and is adjacent to Kentenia State Forest. The preserve protects key contiguous forest that is habitat for the thousands of species that live along Pine Mountain including Indiana and northern long-eared bats, neotropical birds and American black bears.
The new preserve will ensure the scenic enjoyment of both a historic driving route and a planned long-distance hiking trail along Pine Mountain. The tract protects the viewshed of the Laden Trail, the most scenic driving route over the mountain and a unique part of the regional history. Additionally, the proposed route of the Great Eastern Trail is along the summit of Pine Mountain adjacent to the new acquisition.
This acquisition builds upon KNLT’s conservation successes and the public-private partnership that is protecting Pine Mountain, a 125-mile forested ridgeline stretching from Tennessee through Kentucky to Virginia. KNLT’s objective is to connect existing protected areas along the mountain to form a contiguous corridor that protects biodiversity and a climate resilient landscape in ways that also help local communities.
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 the Forecastle Foundation, Louisville Audubon Society, Beckham Bird Club, a broad base of loyal donors and KNLT’s board and advisors.
Laden Trail aerial photography by Ted Wathen, Kentucky Documentary Photographic Project
07/11/2019 – Press Release (pdf)