Bernheim Adds 494 Acres to Create Wildlife Corridor

By Andrew Berry

In case you didn’t hear, late last year, Bernheim purchased an additional 494 acres of land adjacent to the Bullitt County community of Cedar Grove, bringing the total acreage we now protect to 16,137 (more than 25 square miles). The latest acquisition is another positive step in the creation of the Cedar Grove wildlife corridor.

Amidst the rapid pace of development, providing natural corridors where plant and wildlife habitat are protected is critical. The newly acquired land, which features 454 acres of forest, a 40-acre open field and upper sections of Cedar Creek that flows into the Salt River, provides habitat for a multitude of rare and threatened plants and animals, including the Indiana and Northern long-eared bats. In addition to the wildlife habitat, protecting the land benefits the people of this region providing clean air, clean water and natural spaces to enjoy.

The Simon family, former owners of Publishers Printing, sold the property to Bernheim. Bernheim previously purchased the 954-acre Big Level from the Simon Family in spring of 2017.

Key partners helped make the purchase possible. Funding for the $1.4 million-dollar project came from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, administered by the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves and the Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund, administered by US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust.

“We’re happy to play a small role in helping Bernheim achieve this work,” said Lee Andrews, State Field Office Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This corridor will become a very important resource for wildlife in the future and will certainly help support Bernheim’s education mission.”

In addition to purchasing the property, Bernheim granted a conservation easement to the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Board that restricts development and subdivision of the land and requires the area to be managed as habitat for imperiled species.

Executive Director of the Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves Zeb Weese expressed enthusiasm for the restoration potential the newly protected land offers.

“Another long-term vision is a public hiking trail connecting Apple Valley with Bernheim and on to Knobs State Forest,” said Weese. “This property takes us one step closer to making that happen.”

Land stewardship work on the newly acquired property is already underway. Public access to the land will be limited to nature-based education programs and researchers.

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