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Kentucky

Mantle Rock Preserve

Mantle Rock is replete with biological, historical and archaeological significance as well.


Please Note:  The hunting rights on a portion of the Mantle Rock Nature Preserve are owned by a third party; therefore, hunting is not managed by The Nature Conservancy.  All visitors should be familiar with hunting season dates in this areas.  Hunting season dates are available from Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources at 800-858-1549, www.fw.ky.gov and in the annual Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide available at most sporting goods stores.

Just as its name implies, the centerpiece of the Mantle Rock Nature Preserve is a 30-foot high natural sandstone bridge spanning 188 feet. Numerous bluffs, shelters, and honeycomb formations embellish this area, which is also known for its extensive faulting and abundant fluorite deposits.

Mantle Rock and the surrounding property making up the preserve contains extraordinary biological diversity, including cliffs that become carpeted with wildflowers during springtime and a small babbling stream. Fragile sandstone glades interspersed throughout the surrounding upland forest provide the best examples of this rare habitat community type in all of Kentucky.

Mantle Rock also has historic significance, serving as a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The location is a reminder of the harsh winter of 1838-39 when the Cherokee Nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River and migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. During this time, approximately 1,766 persons from the Peter Hildebrand Detachment were forced to spend about two weeks in the Mantle Rock area while waiting for the Ohio River to thaw and become passable. Many Cherokees return each year to pay homage to their ancestors on the "Trail of Tears."

Size:  367 acres

Location: Livingston County
 
What’s At Stake: Kentucky's only known occurrence of June grass thrives here along with other characteristic glade species such as prickly pear cactus, rush foil, hairy lipfern, little bluestem, pinweed and poverty grass. Scattered deep soil pockets are dominated by gnarled and stunted post oak, blackjack oak, farkleberry and red cedar. Mantle Rock also hosts plentiful forest and grassland wildlife species that include songbirds, deer, turkey and squirrels.

Milestones: The Reynolds Metals Company donated 190 acres in 1988, which established the preserve. The acquisition of the adjacent 175-acre Calendar tract in 1995, and donation of two acres by the Felburn Foundation grew the preserve to its current size. While not part of the preserve’s boundaries, the Conservancy acquired the 900-acre Reynolds tract in 2001, which is connected to the southern edge of the preserve.

In 2004, the preserve was recognized as a certified site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2010 the Conservancy, in partnership with the National Park Service, hosted more than 150 people for an unveiling of new exhibits and a retracement hiking trail which highlight the preserve’s cultural history and the rarity and wonderment of its sandstone glades and native prairie.  

Action: Protect the sandstone glade community, especially the rare populations of June grass and Buckley's goldenrod. Other priorities include restoring and managing native prairies and glades through fire management, and developing the site for public access.

Partners: National Park Service, Cherokee Nation, Trail of Tears Association, University of Kentucky, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission, Livingston County Government, Boy Scouts of America, other local private landowners

Mantle Rock Preserve hunting boundaries

Preserve trails are open to the people of all ages from sunrise to sunset. Approximately 2.75 miles of an easy rated loop trail extends around the interior of the preserve. To protect fragile habitats, please stay on maintained trails. Activities such as rock climbing, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking and all-terrain vehicles are strictly prohibited.

Directions

From Lexington:

Take US-60 W / Versailles Rd, until you come to the Blue Grass Parkway Ramp.  Take the Blue Grass Parkway Ram to Lawrenceburg / Elizabethtown.  Merge onto KY-9002 W.  After approximately 70.5 miles, Take exit 1B on the left to merge onto I-65 S toward Nashville / Paducah / Western Kentucky Parkway.  Take exit 91 for US-31 W N/KY-61 N toward Paducah / Elizabethtown.  Follow signs for Owensboro / Paducah / Western Kentucky Parkway and merge onto KY-9001 W / Hwy 9001 W / Rte 9001 W / State 9001 W  / Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway.  Continue approximately 98.4 miles. Continue onto I-69 and travel approximately 26 miles.  Take exit 12 for Kentucky 91 / Kentucky 139.  Turn right onto KY-91 N / Marion Rd.  Travel 14.3 miles.  Take a slight left onto KY-70 W.  Turn right onto Mexico Rd.  Travel 4.4 miles.  Turn left onto View Rd.  Travel 2.7 miles.  Turn left onto US-60 W.  Travel 3.3 miles. Take a slight right onto KY-133 N / Lola Rd.  Travel 12.8 miles.  Turn left onto Mantle Rock Rd.  Follow signs to preserve parking.

From Louisville:

Take I-65 S. toward Nashville for approximately 44 miles.  Take exit 91 for US-31 W N/KY-61 N. toward Paducah / Elizabethwotn.  Follow signs for Owensboro / Paducah / Western Kentucky Parkway and merge onto KY-9001 W / Hwy 9001 W / Rte 9001 W / State 9001 W / Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway.  Continue approximately 98.4 miles.  Continue onto I-69 and travel approximately 26 miles.  Take exit 12 for Kentucky 91 / Kentucky 139.  Turn right onto KY-91 N / Marion Rd.  Travel 14.3 miles.  Take a slight left onto KY-70 W.  Turn right onto Mexico Rd.  Travel 4.4 miles.  Turn left onto View Rd.  Travel 2.7 miles.  Turn left onto US-60 W.  Travel 3.3 miles.  Take a slight right onto KY-133 N / Lola Rd.  Travel 12.8 miles.  Turn left onto Mantle Rock Rd.  Follow signs to preserve parking. 

From South Central Kentucky:

Take KY 914 until you come to the ramp onto KY 9008 W.  Travel 86.1 miles.  Takes exit 1B on the left to merge onto I-65 S. toward Bowling Green.  Travel 22.5 miles.  Take exit 20 for William H. Natcher Green River Parkway / Kentucky 9007 N toward Bowling Green / Owensboro.  Merge onto William H. Natcher Green River Parkway.  Travel 41.1 miles.  Take exit 43B for Western Kentucky Parkway W toward Paducah.  Merge onto KY-9001 W / Hwy 9001 / Rte. 9001 / State 9001 W / Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway.  Travel 38.7 miles.  Continue onto I-69.  Travel for 26 miles.  Take exit 12 for Kentucky 91 / Kentucky 139. Turn right onto KY-91 N / Marion Rd.   Travel 14.3 miles.  Take a slight left onto KY-70 W.  Turn right onto Mexico Rd. Travel 4.4 miles.  Turn left onto View Rd.  Travel 2.7 miles.  Turn left onto US-60 W.  Travel 3.3 miles.  Take a slight right onto KY-133 N / Lola Rd.  Travel 12.8 miles.  Turn left onto Mantle Rock Rd.  Follow signs to preserve parking.

 

 

 
Discussion

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