Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Salamander photo by John R. MacGregor

Conserving Kentucky's Natural Heritage

The Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves (KNP) was established with the  consolidation of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, and the Kentucky Wild Rivers System into one agency.  The 1976 Kentucky legislature created the Kentucky State Nature Preserves 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.  To identify those natural areas, the agency has participated in an international network of programs that monitor biodiversity.  The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund was established in 1994 to provide funding for and oversee the purchase and conservation of natural areas that possess unique natural features.  The Wild Rivers program was established with the Kentucky Wild Rivers Act of 1972 to protect the commonwealth's most pristine rivers from development or use which may impair the river's water quality or natural condition.  The Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves continues to carry out all of these functions.

We invite you to learn more about KNP and Kentucky's outstanding natural heritage by exploring our site, and encourage you to visit your state natural areas and experience the wonderful diversity firsthand.

New from KNP 

  • Read KNP's latest publication Conserving Kentucky's Natural Heritage, the 2018 report on the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves, the Heritage Land Conservation Fund, and Kentucky's rare plants.

  • The Energy and Environment Cabinet has announced the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, and Kentucky Wild Rivers System have consolidated into the new Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves.  Find out more by reading the press release

  • The Kentucky Biological Assessment Tool is now available!  Visit for more information.  

  • We've moved!  KNP is now at the 300 Building at 300 Sower Blvd in Frankfort.
  • The Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves completed a preliminary ecological assessment of the Green and Nolin Rivers in Mammoth Cave National Park following the removal of Lock and Dam 6 on the Green River near Brownsville in 2017.  You can view the report from the assessment using the link below.

    Ecological Assessment of the Green River Lock and Dam #6 Removal


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 & Agriculture​​​​​​​​​​​​​