400 KAR 2:090. Management, use, and
protection of nature preserves.
TO: KRS 146.410, 146.440
AUTHORITY: KRS 146.465, 146.475, 146.485
FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: KRS 146.485(2) authorizes the commission to
promulgate administrative regulations for the management, use, and protection
of nature preserves. KRS 146.465 authorizes the commission to acquire natural
areas for the purpose of dedicating the areas as nature preserves. KRS 146.475
requires that a nature preserve shall be subject to administrative regulations
promulgated by the commission. This administrative regulation establishes the
requirements for the management and use of all nature preserves and to fulfill
the purposes of KRS 146.440.
1. Applicability. This administrative regulation shall apply to a nature
preserve unless a specific exception is set forth in the articles of
dedication. The reasons for any exception shall be set forth in the records of
2. Boundary Markers. (1) Nature preserve boundaries shall be made evident by
posting boundary markers in a conspicuous manner.
If a boundary fence or barrier is installed, it shall not be in a form that
will create a detrimental effect on the movement of wildlife or other natural
3. Encroachments. There shall not be encroachments of structures, easements,
rights-of-way, or land uses that do not conform to this administrative
regulation and with the purposes and definition of a nature preserve as
specified in KRS 146.410 to 146.530, except as allowed by the articles of
4. Emergency Situations. (1) An emergency situation shall be reported
immediately to the director of the commission.
An emergency situation that requires immediate action to prevent injury to
persons or damage to property shall be handled in a manner that minimizes
damage to natural conditions.
5. Internal Access Lanes. (1) An internal vehicular access lane shall be
installed and maintained within a nature preserve only where essential for
patrol, fire control, management, or research activities and shall be in
accordance with the preserve management plan.
An internal vehicular access lane shall:
Be limited to service vehicles or, in an emergency situation, rescue vehicles;
Provide a single track not to exceed ten (10) feet in width.
6. Fire Control. (1) If a boundary firebreak is needed, it shall be constructed
in a buffer area outside the nature preserve if possible.
A firebreak within a nature preserve shall be kept to a minimum and shall be
constructed only in accordance with the preserve fire management plan.
A temporary firebreak made by mowing, raking, blowing, wetting, or black lining
may be used in conjunction with a managed burn.
A wildfire shall be brought under control as quickly as possible if there is
imminent danger to lives or adjacent property.
Fire lines shall be constructed with hand tools rather than heavy equipment, to
minimize damage to the preserve.
If there is no danger to lives or adjacent property and the fire can be
contained at the preserve boundary, the commission may assess the benefit of
allowing a wildfire to burn and shall inform the entity having fire suppression
responsibility of its decision to suppress a wildfire or to allow it to burn.
There shall not be any cleanup, fire hazard reduction, or replanting after a
fire within a nature preserve, except with the written approval of the
commission. Approval shall be based upon health and safety considerations or
the need for habitat restoration.
(3) If undertaken,
prescribed burning shall be conducted in accordance with a prescribed fire plan
prepared for each burn unit and in accordance with the preserve management plan.
During a prescribed burn:
Fire shall be kept away from fences and other structures that may be damaged;
Burning shall not be done under conditions more hazardous than specified in the
prescribed burn plan;
Firefighting chemicals that are known to cause damage to or alter a natural
condition shall not be used; and
The use of a vehicle or equipment shall:
Be specified in the prescribed burn plan; and
Not cause permanent damage or alteration to the natural features of the nature
7. Trails. (1) A trail system shall conform to the objectives of the nature
preserve. A trail shall:
Be designed to affect only part of the nature preserve and to have minimal
impact on natural features; and
Not have a significant impact on animals or plants monitored by the commission
or on archaeological resources located within the preserve.
Location and form of a trail other than a natural wildlife path shall be
approved or denied by the commission, in accordance with the preserve
A trail shall be kept to a single file width sufficient to allow one (1) person
to pass another but not wide enough to allow two or more people to walk abreast
of one another and shall be adequate to provide for permitted use of a nature
preserve and to prevent erosion, trampling of vegetation, and other
deterioration. "A wider trail may be constructed when the surrounding
vegetation type, such as grasslands would require excessive maintenance to keep
the trail open, and shall be specified in the preserve management plan."
Use of paving materials, footbridges, or elevated walks is permissible if provided
for in the trail plan section of the preserve management plan, but shall be
kept to a minimum in order to limit damage to the preserve.
Synthetic materials, painted or chemically treated wood, or stone or earth
materials from outside the nature preserve shall not be used in trail
construction unless specified in the preserve management plan.
Animals or plants monitored by the commission shall not be removed, damaged, or
altered in trail construction or maintenance.
8. Other Structures and Improvements. (1) Necessary signs, information kiosks,
trash receptacles, and minor structures required to house research instruments
or hand tools shall be permitted within a nature preserve if specifically
required in the preserve management plan or permitted by the commission for research
Any other structure shall be located in a service area.
Any sign or structure shall be approved or denied by the commission, in
accordance with the preserve management plan.
9. Service Areas. Service areas may be established within a nature preserve to
provide access and parking, management facilities, and visitor facilities.
Provision for a necessary service area may be included in the articles of dedication
or after a finding by the commission that the designation is warranted and in
accordance with the articles of dedication.
10. Scenic and Landscape Management. (1) Measures shall not be taken to alter
natural growth or features for the purpose of enhancing the beauty, neatness,
or amenities of a nature preserve, except as established in this section and sections
2, 5, and 7 through 9 of this administrative regulation. Cutting of grass,
brush, or other vegetation, thinning of trees, removal of dead wood, opening of
scenic vistas, or planting shall not be performed except after a finding by the
commission that the action does not irreparably harm the preserve and is in
accordance with the preserve management plan.
Installation of guard rails, fences, steps, and other devices necessary for
visitor safety shall conform to the preserve management plan. Dead trees or branches
that constitute a safety hazard to persons on trails or in other authorized use
areas may be felled or cleared.
Except as provided in the articles of dedication or as approved by the
commission, there shall not be any removal, introduction or consumptive use of
any material, product, or object from a nature preserve, except as established
in this administrative regulation. The following activities shall be prohibited:
Grazing by domestic animals;
Gathering of firewood;
Gathering of plant or mushroom products;
Mining, quarrying or mineral extraction, fossil or rock collection;
Dumping, burying or spreading of garbage, trash or other materials;
Any other human activity that results in damage to or loss of natural features
of the preserve.
(4) An artifact shall
only be removed or demolished as follows:
An old interior fence may be removed. Prior to removal, its location shall be
mapped, leaving posts to mark boundaries between former land uses; and
Rubbish may be removed.
Structures lacking utilitarian, historical, scientific, or habitat value may be
demolished or removed.
11. Water Level Control. Natural water levels shall not be altered. Water
levels that have been altered by humans may be changed if identified as being
essential for the maintenance or restoration of natural conditions.
12. Erosion Control. Erosion and soil deposition due to past or present
disturbance by humans or natural conditions within or outside of a nature
preserve may be controlled as needed for the maintenance or restoration of
13. Management of Animals and Plants. (1) Control of plant succession.
Control of plant succession by deliberate manipulation may be undertaken if
preservation or restoration of a particular vegetation type or preservation of
animals or plants monitored by the commission is designated an objective of the
nature preserve by the commission.
If undertaken, plant succession control measures shall be undertaken as
outlined in the preserve management plan to meet objectives referenced in
Section 13(a) of this administrative regulation.
Vegetation may be managed. If managed, the following limitations shall apply:
Plant species not native to the site or vicinity may be eliminated by cutting,
girdling, grubbing, cut stump, or basal or foliar application of specified
The time of burning during the year, the frequency of burning, and the
fractional amount of the area that may be burned each year shall be specified;
Invading native woody species may be eliminated or controlled by cutting,
girdling, grubbing, cut stump, or basal or foliar application of specified
The use of herbicides shall be specified in the management plan for each
Control of noxious species.
Plants or animals that are noxious in fact shall be controlled only if they are
documented as jeopardizing populations of plants and animals or the natural integrity
of the nature preserve.
(b) Except for removal
from a trail, access lane, or firebreak as authorized by this administrative
regulation, there shall not be any control of a native plant that is not
noxious but may otherwise appear undesirable.
There shall not be any control of native predators, rodents, insects, snakes,
or other animals, even though they may appear harmful or undesirable, unless
they are documented as jeopardizing populations of native plants or animals, or
the natural integrity of the nature preserve.
(d) There shall not be
any use of a pesticide except as authorized in the preserve management plan.
Control of exotic species.
Control of exotic plants or animals may be undertaken. If control of exotic
plants is undertaken, it shall be done in accordance with Section 13(1)(c) of
this administrative regulation.
(b) If control of exotic
animals is undertaken it shall be done in accordance with Section 13(2) of this
Any measure for population control of any species shall be established in the
preserve management plan.
Management of plants or animals monitored by the commission and species of
Habitat manipulations and protective measures in favor of particular species
shall be undertaken only as approved by the commission. Approval shall be based
upon a finding by the commission that describes the proposed activities and addresses
species life history, habitat requirements of the species, characteristics and
objectives of the preserve and other relevant information.
Control of plant succession in favor of particular species shall be as provided
in this administrative regulation.
Introduction of plants and animals. Plants, animals, or their reproductive bodies
shall not be brought into a nature preserve or moved from one (1) place to
another within a preserve except with approval of the commission. Approval
shall be based upon scientific evidence documenting the species’ historical
occurrence on the preserve. Restoration shall be performed with caution and
based on a finding that the actions shall not adversely affect natural conditions
on the preserve.
14. Use Tolerance. (1) Human use of a nature preserve shall be allowed only to
the extent and in a manner that shall not impair natural conditions.
The articles of dedication may specify the controls and restrictions to be
placed on access and use.
The commission as owner, or the landowner and the commission upon agreement,
may further restrict access and use as necessary to protect the nature preserve.
15. Character of Visitor Activity. (1) Visitor activity shall be regulated to
prevent disturbance of a nature preserve beyond what it can tolerate without
permanent deterioration. A visitor without a permit for research or educational
activities shall be restricted to trails and areas open to off-trail use and
may be otherwise restricted in movement. A person wishing to traverse a nature
preserve elsewhere than on a trail or other area open to visitation shall
obtain permission from the commission.
Public use shall be in accordance with the articles of dedication of the
Hunting, fishing, and trapping shall not be allowed unless provided for in the
articles of dedication for the nature preserve and shall be subject to 400 KAR
Chapter 2. The commission may approve hunting, fishing, trapping or other
control methods if necessary to ensure that the preserve is protected from a
documented imbalance of species or impending animal disease.
A visitor shall not bring an animal into a nature preserve, except for a
A visitor carrying a deadly weapon on a nature preserve shall not discharge the
weapon unless it is necessary for either self-defense or hunting if the visitor
has previously obtained permission from the commission to hunt on the nature preserve
or hunting is provided for in the articles of dedication.
A preserve that is open to visitors shall be open sunrise to sunset.
Trails shall be open to foot traffic only. Travel on horse, bicycle, or
motorized vehicle shall be prohibited at all times.
Rock climbing and rappelling shall be prohibited at all times.
Possessing or using non-prescription drugs or alcohol shall be prohibited at
Camping, picnicking, building fires, using audio equipment (except if part of
research approved by the commission) shall be prohibited at all times.
Collecting plants, fungi, animals, minerals, rocks, wood or artifacts shall be prohibited
at all times except for approved scientific studies in accordance with Section
19 of this administrative regulation.
16. Access Control. (1) Ingress and egress shall be allowed only at locations
and under conditions as may be specified by the commission in the preserve
The owner, custodian, and commission have the authority to further limit access
as may be necessary for protection and proper management of the nature preserve.
17. Orientation and Guidance of Visitors. Orientation and guidance of visitors
shall be in accordance with the articles of dedication, and as approved by the
commission. Interpretive signs, structures or labels shall be of uniform appearance.
18. Permission for Research or Educational Activities. (1) A person wishing to
engage in research or educational activities on a nature preserve shall secure
prior permission of the commission. If the activities are to be carried on by a
group, permission may be issued to the group leader who shall be responsible
for the actions of the group. Permission or denial shall be based upon information
provided in the application for permission, the purpose stated for the
research, and an assessment of any damage that may result from the activity.
Permission shall be required for educational use of a preserve only if
activities include collecting or activities other than walking and observation
or if the preserve is not open to the public.
The application for permission shall be on a form prescribed by the commission and
shall include the:
Name of the applicant;
Mailing address of the applicant;
Occupation of the applicant;
Professional qualifications of the applicant;
General field of interest of the applicant; and
Description of the applicant’s proposed activities, including the:
Objectives, methods and procedures to be followed;
Records to be kept;
Location and duration of the project areas to be visited;
Frequency and length of visits; and
Detailed description of disturbances to be made to the preserve.
Information shall be provided on the:
Species or objects to be taken;
Number of specimens;
Method of taking; and
Disposition of specimens.
The commission shall provide permission application forms to persons requesting
The permission may contain specific provisions and restrictions.
Permission may be modified, suspended, or revoked by the commission for
violations of the conditions of permission, this section, or based upon a
determination of the commission that the activity jeopardizes the nature
Each holder of permission shall submit to the commission an annual report or
Permission for an activity of no more than the calendar year expires on
December 31 of that year. Permission for an activity of longer than one (1)
year may be extended annually upon submission of an annual report and request
for an extension.
19. Collecting on Nature Preserves. (1) A person wishing to collect a
scientific specimen for deposition in a permanent institutional collection
available to the public or for purposes of an approved research project shall
do so pursuant to terms of permission as specified in this administrative regulation.
Permission may restrict the collecting of certain species or specimens.
Material for classroom laboratory observation or study shall not be collected.
Exceptions may be provided in the articles of dedication of the nature
preserve, or as set forth in the preserve management plan.
20. Record. (1) A record shall be kept for each nature preserve.
One (1) copy of the record required by subsection (1) of this section shall be
held by the commission at its Frankfort office.
The record shall include annual reports of the custodian and all other
pertinent documentary material, studies, reports, and descriptions of
Responsibility for assembling the record shall be with the commission director,
in conjunction with the custodian of the nature preserve.
21. Management Plan. Each nature preserve shall be managed in strict accordance
with the most recent approved management plan that sets forth the allowable
activities to take place on the preserve as related to:
Natural community and rare species protection;
Resource restoration and enhancement;
Archeological and historical resource protection;
Public access and interpretation;
Maintenance of the preserve;
Coordination of management activities with adjacent landowners and other
federal and state resource protection agencies; and
Research and education.
22. Incorporation by Reference. (1) The following material is incorporated by
"Collecting/Access Permit Application for Kentucky State Nature Preserves,"
October 2011; and
"Research Permit Application for Kentucky State Nature Preserves,"
(2) This material may be
inspected, copied, or obtained, subject to applicable copyright law, at the Kentucky
State Nature Preserves Commission, 801 Schenkel Lane, Frankfort, Kentucky
40601, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (13 Ky.R. 1322; eff. 2-10-1987; 38 Ky.R. 623; 1123; 1-6-2012.)