Baumberger Barrens Preserve

Grasslands once covered most of west central Kentucky, but have now been replaced by farmland.

The grasslands of Baumberger Barrens once covered most of Midwestern Kentucky, but have now been virtually all replaced by farmland, making their preservation here especially important. The site is a mosaic of areas of open woodland with a prairie-like understory.


Grayson County, about 2 miles southwest of Leitchfield.


172 acres


Due to the sensitivity of the site, the preserve is open to the public only through Conservancy guided hikes.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

The dry limestone barrens located on this nature preserve in Grayson County represent an important community type. This site was a gift from Mary Alice Baumberger in 1992.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

The main purpose of stewardship activities at Baumberger Barrens is to maintain and monitor the diverse array of native vegetation associated with the glades/barrens community. Other priorities include removing invasive species and developing a fire management plan. The Conservancy believes that the role of fire in this area would stimulate growth of grasses and forbs typical of this community, stimulate flowering, and reduce the threat of woody encroachment.

Plants Found in the Preserve

Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) and little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) are the dominant grasses. Other uncommon grassland species include purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and white indigo (Baptisia alba).

Typically present are barrens forb species such as:

  • obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)
  • various species of blazing star (Liatrus)
  • gray goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis)
  • hairy sunflower (Helianthus mollis)

Several grassland species including the rare Eggert's sunflower (Helianthus eggertii) and long-haired hawkweed (Hieracium longipilum) are found in the openings. The surrounding forest is dominated primarily oaks (Quercus) with a very open understory.

Animals Found in the Preserve

Animals that may be seen there include typical forest wildlife such as:

  • white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
  • wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
  • squirrels (Sciurus spp.)
  • many different species of songbirds


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