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Contents:
Program 1010

1. Metropolis Lake State Nature Preserve
2. Axe Lake Swamp State Nature Preserve
3. Ballard Wildlife Management Area
Season 10 Menu

Kentucky’s Last Great Places | Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

McCracken County

For more information:
Metropolis Lake State Nature Preserve, c/o Lane Linnenkohl, Ogden Dean’s Office, Western Kentucky University, 1 Big Red Way, Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 745-7005


Metropolis Lake State Nature Preserve

At the western end of the state, we explore some places that are reminiscent of the bayous of Louisiana.

First on our itinerary is Metropolis Lake, a 123-acre McCracken County preserve protecting one of the few remaining natural lakes in the Ohio River floodplain. Ringed by bald cypress and swamp tupelo, the waters are home to five rare species of fish, plus an uncommon crayfish. The preserve also offers a three-quarter-mile interpretive trail and is a popular spot for watching birds.

Kentucky Life previously visited Metropolis Lake in Program 603.




Ballard County

For more information:
Axe Lake Swamp State Nature Preserve, c/o Lane Linnenkohl, Ogden Dean’s Office, Western Kentucky University, 1 Big Red Way, Bowling Green, KY 42101, (270) 745-7005


Axe Lake Swamp State Nature Preserve

Our next stop is also largely “for the birds.” Ballard County’s Axe Lake Swamp, another example of a cypress-tupelo swamp, hosts a great blue heron rookery and is the only known Kentucky nesting site for the great egret. Thousands of wood ducks and other waterfowl also stop over in the winter, making this wetland a priority site for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The current preserve encompasses 458 acres, and the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission and the Nature Conservancy are collaborating on a management plan for the long-term protection of the entire 3,000-acre Axe Lake wetlands complex.

Access to this preserve is by written permission only.




Ballard County

For more information:
• Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, 1 Game Farm Rd., Frankfort, KY 40601, (800) 858-1549
• Ballard Wildlife Management Area, (270) 224-2244


Ballard Wildlife Management Area

If it’s birds you want to see, then this final stop on our Last Great Places tour may be the best of all. To wrap up this salute to Kentucky’s natural wonders, Dave visits a Ballard County wetland where they congregate in the tens of thousands.

The Ballard Wildlife Management Area, administered by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, is a stop on the Mississippi Flyway. In any given fall, as many as 135,000 birds—mostly Canada geese and mallard and black ducks—may stop over on their way south. The annual visitors also include dozens of wintering bald eagles ... and a few pairs have even taken up permanent residence, building nests and raising young.

Ballard is closed from October 15 to March 15 for the sake of the migrating birds. During the rest of the year, human visitors can fish in 11 lakes, watch deer and other wildlife from an observation tower, and rough it at a few primitive campsites. Occasional waterfowl hunting is also permitted; contact Fish and Wildlife for information.

We’ve been fans of this great place for a long time: Kentucky Life’s first visit was in Program 102. More recently, we got the rare privilege of a February visit for Program 1301.



Kentucky’s Last Great Places | Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

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100810091010: Kentucky’s Last Great Places1011101210131014
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