How to Prepare for Your Visit View All
In 2010 The Nature Conservancy marked 35 years of doing business in the Bluegrass State. More than three decades ago, a group of passionate volunteers founded The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky, inspiring a conservation ethic that has endured ever since.
The dedication of The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky’s founders was reflected early on with the chapter’s first acquisition of a 74-acre property at Boone County Cliffs, a unique area named for 20- to 40-foot conglomerate cliffs composed of gravel deposited as glacial outwash about 700,000 years ago. Thanks to this vision, Boone County Cliffs – a part of northern Kentucky referred to as the "Enchanted Valley" – retains a beauty which has remained undiminished for centuries and prevails as an exceptional example of lasting natural forest habitat protection in a rapidly urbanizing part of Kentucky.
Situated along a tributary to Middle Creek in Boone County
What’s At Stake
Boone County Cliffs State Nature Preserve boasts rich flora, fauna and unique geological features. This area is characterized by a calcareous mesophytic forest consisting of sugar maple, basswood, beech, white oak, white ash and slippery elm. The preserve also supports an abundance of wildflowers, ferns and shrubs.
The moist, spring fed stream valley located at Boone County Cliffs is also home to redback salamander – which are rare in Kentucky – and dusky salamander, an indicator species of exceptionally clean water. The cliffs also support an unusually high diversity of resident and migrating birds.
Invasive, non-native species, particularly garlic mustard. Also urban sprawl as this is one of the fastest growing areas in Kentucky.
In 1974, The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky made its first land acquisition of 46 acres at Boone County Cliffs. In 1987, the Conservancy officially dedicated the property as a state nature preserve to be jointly managed with the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. Twenty-eight additional acres were added in 1990.
In 2010, Boone County used proceeds from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund to purchase the Boone County Cliffs Nature Preserve and the nearby Dinsmore Woods Nature Preserve to be incorporated into the County’s parks system and Kentucky’s state nature preserves system, making them eligible for assistance with management decisions. These transactions ensured the properties remain in permanent conservation management while providing the Conservancy with resources needed to further conservation work across the state.
Boone County, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
This area is characterized by a calcareous mesophytic forest consisting of:
The preserve also supports an abundance of wildflowers, ferns, and shrubs, with over 300 species recorded.
The moist, spring fed stream valley is home to the redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus) -- a rarity in Kentucky -- and the dusky salamander (Desmognathus fuscus) -- an indicator species of exceptionally clean water. In addition, the cliffs support an unusually high diversity of bird life, with over 90 species recorded. This rich forested area provides a home to some resident species and a rest stop for migrants.
For more information on visiting this and other Nature Conservancy sites in Kentucky, see our Preserve Visitation Guidelines page.