Vaughn Branch Nature Preserve
The City of Frankfort Commissioners voted to donate 34 acres of forest near the East West Connector to Woods and Waters Land Trust. Part of the original Carpenter Farm, the forest is on an undevelopable section of a commercial tract the city was selling. WWLT thanks the City for its leadership in conservation!
The forest is within a steep ravine and provides habitat that is scarce in this area. The diversity of trees, the stream with rocky ledges and lower slopes with thick banks of ferns make you forget you’re on the edge of a city. In the spring the wildflower diversity is especially gorgeous.
The area provides habitat for Braun’s rockcress. This plant is federally endangered because there are so few populations in the world – and most of these populations are in Franklin County. When a plant is this rare, every group of plants is important.
We have continued to learn more about the animals and plants in this gorgeous forest system. For instance, birds using the forest include winter wrens and louisiana water thrush, species indicating the habitat is good quality (thanks to local birders for their surveys). A bobcat has been spotted coming down to Vaughn's Branch. As a result of bat monitoring by Shelby Fulton, Ky Nature Preserves, we know there are bats using the forests including big brown, eastern red, hoary and evening bats!
And, the next step is managing the forest to keep it healthy. For instance, pest plant control is needed before forest quality is threatened and, thanks to a donor, volunteers, and grant funding, we have starting to address invasive plants like garlic mustard, winter creeper and bush honeysuckle. We have work to do! If you would like to contribute time or funds for the effort, click the donate button or contact us to volunteer!
For a current bird list click here.