Nestled in the heart of the Bluegrass region of central Kentucky, Danville and Boyle County are known for gorgeous scenery and pristine natural beauty – and the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge offers a spectacular place to view it.
North Rolling Fork River
The 500-acre, 44-year-old preserve bordering the North Rolling Fork River is a protected area of Boyle County that has been set aside as a permanent sanctuary. With five main walking/hiking trails of varying difficulty, a bluebird trail with a dozen bluebird boxes, four ponds, a bird blind, an education center, pavilion and an observation gazebo, the preserve is popular with folks who want to connect with the great outdoors.
The refuge is home to plants and animals native to Central Kentucky, and it’s open year-round from dawn to dusk. As the seasons change, people find something new each time they visit. Throw in special events such as guided wildflower walks, stargazing nights, birding hikes, school field trips and more, and it’s easy to see how the center attracts people from all over the region, say J.P. and Jane Brantley, education directors.
The refuge operates as a nonprofit organization that people can join, and it relies heavily on volunteers for day-to-day maintenance and major projects. People come out in force to help whenever caretakers Rob and Dee Pendygraft have a project in the works, and the refuge is always striving to improve.
“We recently purchased an additional 10 acres, which gives us limited access to a part of Carpenters Creek that includes a very unusual geological formation called a duffin,” the Boyles say.
The board of directors also is discussing developing some new trails to provide new access to the Rolling Fork River that runs through the property and better access to Carpenters Creek. And a handicapped-accessible bathroom was recently installed in the education center.
While the refuge is a popular place, it will remain an unspoiled area. “We emphasize to all visitors that only foot traffic is allowed, and they must stay on the trails,” the Boyles say. “Pets are allowed only if leashed, Everyone has to leave the refuge as they found it.”