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The purpose for protecting Upper Gunpowder Creek is to provide public accessibility for passive recreation and environmental education and create a greenway with connectivity to a county nature preserve, a county park, a boy scout camp and a YMCA camp in Boone County. The Gunpowder Creek watershed encompasses more than 3,400 acres and this parcel lies in the northern reaches where urban and suburban development, along with de-icing chemicals from the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport have severely impaired the water quality of the stream.  More than 50% of Boone county residents live within this watershed in one of the most rapidly developing counties in the state and this nature preserve will be an important addition to the Boone County Parks.  There is a 1.25 mile walking trail which leads from the parking area to the creek. While water quality is impaired, the surrounding forest is an excellent example of mature to old mixed, mesic bluegrass forest dominated by a variety of canopy species including white, red and blue ash; black cherry, white, chestnut, bur, and Shumard oak; tulip tree, big shellbark, shagbark and bitternut hickory; slippery and American elm; black and sugar maple, American beech; basswood; Kentucky coffeetree, and black walnut.  Important understory species include sassafras, flowering dogwood, spicebush, redbud, pawpaw; bladdernut; yellow sweet and Ohio buckeye; and American hornbeam.  As with most mesic bluegrass forest communities, this preserve has an outstanding spring wildflower display with typical limestone species occurring including synandra, doll’s eyes, bloodroot, twinleaf, columbine, Goldenseal, several waterleaf, Jacob’s ladder, spikenard, stonecrop, fire pink and wild ginger.  The forest was in generally outstanding condition with few exotics until a tornado created several large canopy gaps which will allow for an increase in bush honeysuckle, garlic mustard, and other known invasive plant species.  The bottomland forest communities adjacent to this excellent example of a braided stream include sycamore, black willow, American hop hornbeam, box elder, red maple; swamp white oak, pin oak, and buttonbush with an understory of a large number of sedges, great blue lobelia, and swamp milkweed.  More than 295 species of plants have been observed in the preserve. Thirty three birds, 5 mammals, 3 amphibians, and 2 reptile species have been observed on the preserve.


Access Type: Open to Public
County: Boone
Region: Bluegrass Region
Size: 125.95
Owner: Boone County Fiscal Court

​Boone County Fiscal Court

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Lat: 39.007265
Long: -84.727384
Image of Terrapin Creek

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Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet
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