A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky State Nature Preserves adds additional 124 acres on Pine Mountain in Harlan County

The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) has conserved an additional 124 acres on Pine Mountain in Harlan County along the Little Shepard Trail.

The Hi Lewis State Nature Preserve now conserves a total of 427 acres of Kentucky’s natural heritage. This tract adds additional rock outcrops that support the extremely rare “pine barrens” habitat.

nature preserve

Named for the stream that drains the area, the nature preserve rises 1,000 feet from the base of the mountain to the ridge crest, and features flowering and fruiting American chestnut trees, Hemlock-mixed forest and massive sandstone outcrops and cliffs. It also is home to rare plant species including frost weed and the largest known Kentucky population of yellow wild indigo.

The open areas feature an unusual mix of plants typically thought of as prairie plants, such as little bluestem and Indian grass, and also drought-tolerant plants such as low-bush blueberries.

The mission of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission is to conserve Kentucky’s natural habitat by identifying, acquiring and managing natural areas that represent the best known occurrences of rare native species, natural communities and significant natural features in a statewide nature preserve system.

It works to protect biological diversity and educates Kentuckians as to the value and purpose of nature preserves and biodiversity conservation.

Discover more about KSNPC through our website: http://naturepreserves.ky.gov.

From KSNPC Communications

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