Welcome to your next forest adventure!
In the upper headwaters of Little Flat Creek in Clay County, along the divide with the Left Fork of Big Double Creek, one can still find a rare remnant of Kentucky’s original old-growth forests. Most of the site’s oldest trees consist of twisted, gnarly chestnut oaks (Quercus montana), mixed with some old pitch pine (Pinus rigida) and other species, growing on the dry ridges. Though not huge, many of these trees are over 200 years old, with some confirmed to be over 300 years old.
Contrasting with these slower-growing trees is the lovely grove of rich old-growth forest that includes two massive red hickory (Carya ovalis) trees which are the largest trees of this species documented anywhere in the world. In addition to these massive red hickories, old-growth shagbark hickory (Carya ovata), tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), and other species shelter a rich understory flora.
Unfortunately, this old-growth forest has been approved for logging by the U.S. Forest Service, with the timber conveyed to the Ruffed Grouse Society to manage the sale. While not all of the old trees will be cut, the approved harvest plans include cutting of most of the site’s trees with large skid roads (in some cases up to 20 ft. wide) bulldozed across the slopes to remove the logs.
We’ve put together this self-guided tour so that more people can see, and learn from, this wonderful forest and its trees before they are lost.
Download the Guide by clicking the button below!