Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain represents one of the last great contiguous stretches of unfragmented forest in Kentucky. While other parts of the region have been developed, strip-mined or heavily logged, Pine Mountain remains relatively untouched. Positioned at the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, the mountain offers commanding views of Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee. If ever there was a hope of preserving an ecological legacy for future generations of Kentuckians, this is it. The mountain has remained a refuge in the face of increasing human intrusion, mainly because it is a rugged, nearly roadless mountain that is guarded by jutting sandstone cliffs, tangled rhododendron thickets and large, pre-historic land slides laden with car-sized boulders. Even when deer and turkey were driven out of most of the region, Pine Mountain remained a refuge for wildlife native to the area. Today the mountain serves as the travel corridor for black bear re-entering the state from Virginia and Tennessee. It provides habitat for the newly restored elk, and is the home of many Kentucky species that are restricted to Pine Mountain (i.e. rose pogonia, frostweed and the largest known population of yellow wild indigo in the Commonwealth). Breached by only six roads in 110 miles, the mountain represents a significant unprotected wilderness area.

To learn more about Pine Mountain and the Pine Mountain Trail Conference which is in the process of building hiking trail along the length of Pine Mountain from the Breaks Interstate Park to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: Click Here.

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