The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund assiseted with 166 acres of a total of 554 acres.
This was the first old growth forest remnant protected in Kentucky and is listed as a Registered Natural National Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The old growth forest occurs on 252 acres and while never logged, it has been disturbed by livestock grazing and periodic fire. The old growth protects an excellent example of a mixed mesophytic forest with 72 woody plant species occupying this forest community where American beech and red maple are the most abundant species in terms of overall percentages. About 10% of the old growth area is mixed mesophytic comprised of sugar maple, basswood, tulip tree with northern red and chestnut oak, American beech, yellow buckeye, red maple, white ash, black gum, black walnut, pignut and red hickory, cucumber tree, and flowering dogwood. Beech forests, with some hemlock and yellow buckeye dominate the upper slopes and beech-buckeye forests with some sugar maple and hemlock occur on lower slopes and beech-white oak forests occur on more upper slopes with a northeast facing aspect. Hemlock forests with some American beech present are found on approximately 5% of the old growth forest on lower north facing slopes. Oak dominated communities occur on approximately 35% of the area, mostly on south facing slopes and ridge-tops. In some stands on south and northwest facing slopes, white oak is the dominant species with some scarlet, black, chestnut, and southern red oak filling in the canopy. There is also some American beech and sourwood in the canopy as well. In mixed oak stands on east facing slopes, white oak is still the dominant species but there is some chestnut, scarlet and black oak present along with red and sugar maple, pignut and mockernut hickory, sourwood, and black gum. The ridgetop forests are dominated by chestnut oak with white, black, and scarlet oak, sourwood, red maple, downy serviceberry, and pignut hickory also present. A total of more than 530 plant species have been documented in various studies.
Access: Open to public only by guided tours from 9am to 5 pm from May 15 to August 15, and during April, May, September, and October on weekends only. From November through April it is open only by appointment. No camping, collecting, hunting, pets or off road vehicles are allowed and picnicking is allowed in restricted areas only. From Kentucky Highway 15 south of Hazard, take Kentucky 7 for 13 miles and turn right onto KY 1103. Follow for 8 miles and the entrance will be on the left side of the road.