In response to the 1970’s fuel crisis, the federal government purchased the original land in 1978 to build and develop a synthetic fuel research facility near the community of Henderson. The facility was never developed and in 1998 the land was transferred to the Kentucky Division of Forestry as the Green River State Forest. The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund purchased an additional 409 of 1107 acres total. The forest is a mixture of upland moist and dry forests, bottomland hardwoods, sloughs and wetlands, and reforestation sites. More than 538 acres of agricultural land have been planted and this is the site of Kentucky’s first carbon sequestration project. On the upland 400 acre forest there are ancient burial mounds that are archaeologically significant. These forests are dominated by white, post, southern red, bur, and shingle oak, red maple, shellbark, bitternut hickories, pecan, and catalpa on dry sites and American beech, tuliptree, sugar maple, black walnut, American elm, red elm, black and sweetgum, honeylocust, black cherry, American basswood, shagbark, pignut, and bitternut hickories,and northern red, overcup, swamp chestnut, pin, and cherrybark oak on moist sites. Moving downslope to the bottomlands, the forests are dominated by pin, cherrybark, overcup and willow oak, pecan, red maple, and sweetgum with bald cypress in the more permanently flooded areas. Along the floodplain of the Ohio and Green Rivers, the sloughs are dominated by bald cypress, buttonbush, swamp holly, swamp privet and swamp mallow and the frequently flooded areas are dominated by silver maple, pin oak, cottonwood and swamp cottonwood, river birch and black willow. The riparian forests along the Ohio River are comprised of hackberry, sycamore, silver maple, green ash and American elm with a thick tangle of shrubs and vines including poison ivy, giant cane, trumpet creeper, grapes, porcelain berry, willows, elder berry and indigo bush. More than 189 species of plants, including the state threatened white nymph, have been observed in the forest. The bottomlands also provide habitat for the copperbelly water snake, a rare snake of this area.
Open dawn to dusk by foot traffic only for hunting, fishing, hiking and other forms of passive recreation. ATV and off-road vehicles are prohibited and all state hunting and fishing regulations must be followed. Take US 60 east of Henderson approximately 3 miles to Tscharner Road and turn left going north for approximately 1 mile and the forest will be on the left hand side of the road. Green River State Forest is very near the Audubon Wetlands of John James Audubon State Park.