The Counties Project
The woodland pastures of the Bluegrass and Nashville Basin cover a vast area, encompassing all or parts of 64 counties in five states. Each county is different in the extent of woodland pastures, the pressures of development and the topography. Woodford County, for example, is predominantly agricultural with extensive woodland pastures that cover multiple farms. Fayette County is heavily urban, with many scattered individual ancient trees that are remnants of once extensive woodland pastures.
It is impossible to accomplish serious conservation work over such a large region. As part of its 2016 conservation campaign, Venerable Trees, Inc, is going to focus on a few counties where we feel we can have the most impact. The counties we will concentrate on are those where 1) there are substantial woodland pastures; and 2) where there is a group of interested and concerned citizens who can help fund and carry out projects.
Our first three counties are Bourbon, Jessamine and Woodford Counties. We will add more counties as our resources permit. If you would like your county to become part of the Counties Project, please contact us.
Bourbon County is predominantly rural and includes some of the premier horse farms of the Bluegrass. The county is divided between the Inner Bluegrass and Outer Bluegrass, with most of the horse farms in the Inner Bluegrass and cattle farms predominating in the Outer Bluegrass. The land is almost entirely in pasture, with few acres of crops and little urbanization.
The woodland pastures of Bourbon County are extensive, and some of them cover multiple farms. One rare feature is the presence, along Harrod's Creek Road, of woodland pastures that are successfully reproducing. Understanding how this woodland pasture is reproducing will be a great help as we learn to manage woodland pastures for a sustainable future.
The map shows Bourbon County divided into the Inner Bluegrass (below the purple line) and the Outer Bluegrass (above the purple line).
Woodford County is the only county entirely in the Inner Bluegrass. Its gently rolling hills are home to some of the premier horse farms in the Bluegrass. Extensive woodland pastures cover large areas over multiple farms. The rural character of Woodford County is threatened by the expansion of residential and commercial developments in and around Versailles, but the community has a strong commitment to maintaining the farmland of the county. The Pisgah neighborhood (outlined in orange in the map) is unique in having extensive woodland pastures on farms owned by many of the families of the original settlers of the land.
Jessamine County is divided between the Inner Bluegrass in the northern part of the county and the Hills of the Bluegrass to the south. Woodland pastures are today found almost entirely north and west of the city of Nicholasville. Rapid development throughout the county has already eliminated or will eliminate many woodland pastures, but continued protection of farms in the northern part of the county will offer some opportunities to protect woodland pastures.