The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund purchased 255 of 1,175 total acres.
This state forest adjoins Carter Caves State Resort Park and was originally purchased in 1957. The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund purchased this land in an effort to create a larger contiguous forest with the state park. Overall, the forest is dominated by oaks including white oak (22%), Chestnut Oak (12%), and black oak (8%) and approximately 16% of these oaks are mature and are at least 80 years old. The remaining dominant trees including hickories (12%) and sugar maple (9%). The remaining forests are primarily third growth calcareous and acidic forests ranging from mesophytic forests dominated by white, northern red, black, and chinquapin oaks, white and blue ash, sugar maple, buckeye, American beech, and shagbark and mockernut hickories in the coves and slopes to dry or xeric calcareous forests on upper slopes and ridge tops dominated by white, northern red, black and chinquapin oak, white and blue ash, sugar maple, buckeye, cedar, shagbark and mockernut hickory, tulip poplar, and sugar maple. The acidic sub-xeric communities are dominated almost exclusively by white oak but other canopy species such as sugar maple, tulip tree, northern red oak, white ash, black walnut, red cedar, black oak black gum, and shagbark hickory also occur. The old fields are in the process of regenerating to forest and are dominated by red cedar and Virginia Pine with some hardwoods beginning to appear including tulip poplar, black locust, white ash, white oak, sugar maple, American beech and black gum. The forests along the stream are typical of the region and are dominated by sycamore, red and sugar maple, buckeye, white ash, and slippery elm with an understory of ironwood, paw paw, and spicebush. At least 463 plant species have been observed and approximately 11% of the flora is non-native and the worst invaders include tree of heaven, autumn olive, and multiflora rose. Other invasive species found include Japanese stilt grass, sericea lespedeza, white poplar, and bush and Japanese honeysuckle. There is one cave on the property that protects federally endangered Indiana bats, along with big brown, little brown and tri-colored bats. During the inventory process, 26 birds, 17 amphibian, 12 reptile, and 16 mammal species were recorded.
The forest is open for public recreation dawn to dusk for hiking, wildlife viewing, and hunting following statewide regulations. Off-road vehicles, including ATVs and camping is prohibited. From the south take I-64, then KY182 (Carter Caves Road) north through Carter Caves State Resort Park. From Wesleyville, take KY-02 to KY-182, to Oakland Ridge Road.