Who would have thought that directly behind the city government offices in Prospect you would find a natural area? Putney pond has long been known by bird watching enthusiasts and over 118 species of birds have been documented from this small site in the middle of a city adjacent to a busy highway. Furthermore, who would have thought that this natural area would host the state champion Kentucky coffee tree which as a circumference of 120 inches, is 105 feet tall and has a 48 foot spread. Originally purchased in the 1930’s for a hunting and fishing lodge, this natural area was threatened by development until the city purchased it for passive recreation including hiking, wildlife observation, and environmental education. In addition to the 11 acre pond and wetland complex, there are eight acres of mixed hardwood forest and six acres of reverting forest in this natural area. The forest type is mesic calcareous with a canopy of sugar maple, American beech, hackberry, white ash, black walnut, American basswood, American and slippery elm, and black cherry. Box elder and sycamore are typically found along the pond edge. More than 174 plant species have been found here but unfortunately 33 of these species are not native including garlic mustard, bush honeysuckle, privet, multiflora rose, princess tree, burning bush, Japanese barberry, winter creeper, oriental bittersweet, tree of heaven, and lesser celandine. At least 5 amphibians, 5 reptiles, and 14 mammal species have been observed and there is evidence of an over-abundant deer herd. There is one species of special concern, the Evening bat, which has been found at this location.
Open via foot traffic only from dawn to dusk. No fires, alcohol, drugs and smoking are allowed on the trails and pets must be on a leash. Parking is available at several locations on US 42 between Timber Ridge Road and Fox Harbor Road. The trail system begins behind City Hall.