Blanton Forest — Harlan County, Kentucky — 22 March 2012
Images from a trip to Blanton Forest in Southeastern Kentucky, alleged to be the “largest old growth forest in the Commonwealth.”
From Old Growth in the East:
Within a preserve that in mid-2000 totaled 3055 acres, 2239 acres of little disturbed forest, encompassing an entire side of Pine Mountain. Communities include hemlock-mixed mesophytic, oak-pine, Appalachian oak (White Oak and Chestnut Oak most common but other species contributing), mountain bogs, cliffs, rock overhangs, and mountain streams. Pitch Pine dominates some areas; Shortleaf Pine and Virginia Pine are also present. The occurrence of pines is coincident with the driest forest at the summit. American Chestnut was once an important component but it all died in the 1930s and 1940s from blight. Traces of an old homestead can be seen at the mountain’s base, one part of the forest apparently underwent limited logging, cattle may have grazed a section, and someone tried to cut an off-road vehicle trail in a corner of the tract; but these activities did little noticeable damage.