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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Salamander photo by John R. MacGregor

Protecting Kentucky's Natural Heritage

The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) participates in an international network of programs that monitor biodiversity. The 1976 Kentucky legislature created the commission to protect the best remaining natural areas in the state, not only to preserve our natural heritage, but also in recognition of the dependence of our well-being on healthy ecosystems.

The plant and animal life in Kentucky, from the bottomland swamps in the west to the rich Appalachian forests in the east, is extraordinary as well as beautiful. Glades, prairies, forests, wetlands, rivers and caves form a biologically diverse web of life that is unique to the Commonwealth. The state's ecosystems are teeming with a diversity of native species from black throated green warblers to lizard skin liverworts. Some of these species are found nowhere else in the world. The aquatic systems of the state are home to rainbow darters, ghost crayfish, salamander mussels and an impressive array of other species that constitute some of the greatest levels of freshwater diversity on the planet.
We invite you to learn more about Kentucky's outstanding natural heritage by exploring our site, and encourage you to visit your state nature preserves and experience this wonderful diversity firsthand.

New from KSNPC 

  • Crooked Creek State Nature Preserve in Lewis County was opened to the public on July 15th with the dedication of the new 1.35 mile Joyce Bender Trail, named in honor of the 30 year employee of KSNPC.  You can read about the trail dedication in the Lewis County Herald.  For directions and more information on the 728-acre preserve, you can visit the Crooked Creek State Nature Preserve page. 
  • We are proud to announce the eighth addition to KSNPC's Scientific and Technical Series, A Distributional Atlas of the Freshwater Mussels of Kentucky by Wendell R. Haag and Ronald R. Cicerello. This book summarizes all available information about the distribution of each mussel species in Kentucky, and illustrates changes in their distribution over the last 100 years.
  • Catch two of our most treasured volunteers, Kyle Elliott of Pilot Knob SNP and Jim Allen of Quiet Trails SNP, on KET’s Kentucky Life series.
  • The Boone County Fiscal Court has temporarily closed the Boone County Cliffs State Nature Preserve due to significant erosion problems and potential safety hazards. It took this action with the support of Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. Please read the press release for more information. 
  • Kentucky's Natural Heritage: An Illustrated Guide to Biodiversity is now available! Read more about the book and view sample pages here

The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our
most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its
renewal, is our only legitimate hope. —Wendell Berry
from The Unsettling of America: Culture &