Within The Parklands of Floyds Fork many treasures of the landscape and our natural history lie hidden. For millennia the land has shaped the way humans and animals live and interact. In turn, humans and animals have made their mark on the land, leaving behind many clues. Become a landscape detective by being observant, asking questions, and reading those clues to understand the history of the natural world around you. We have identified over 100 “special places” within the park boundaries that we don’t want you to miss, many of which are highlighted here.
Next time you’re exploring The Parklands, be sure to stop by and take a look at the nuanced landscape. Within it lies a world waiting to be discovered that will not only introduce or expand your knowledge and appreciate for local natural history, but leave you in awe of the remarkable flora, fauna, history and culture that we have in our area.
Train Trestle - Built in the late 1800s, the train trestle near Fisherville, rises 90 feet above Pope Lick, a tributary to Floyds Fork of which the second park is named. The Louisville Loop goes right under the trestle before reaching Taylorsville Rd. and it’s an area full of lore and superstition. Many stories and even some short films have asserted that the Pope Lick Monster, a half-man, half-goat lives on this trestle operated by the Norfolk Southern Railroad. Many people claim to have seen the monster, and maybe you will too as you walk or ride along the Loop in Pope Lick Park! Please stay off the Trestle and railroad tracks, these are private property.
Big Beech Woods - The forests Daniel Boone and the early settlers encountered were much different than the forests we see today. The primary difference is forest structure—the sizes of the trees and the spacing between them. Old growth forests, like this one, contain trees of many sizes—old crooked canopy trees, tall middle story trees, and a regeneration layer of seedlings and saplings. Within the forest there are also standing dead trees, logs on the ground, shrubs and herbaceous plants. A forest with all these layers provides complex habitat for wildlife.
Identify the Beech Trees this forest is named after by the smooth gray bark. Young trees have small wrinkles resembling the legs of elephants, and older trees retain their smooth bark, a characteristic uncommon with other species whose bark furrows. Michael Gaige, naturalist and author of The Parklands natural areas plan, estimates the Beech Trees in the Big Beech Woods range from 250 to 300 years old, making it one of the oldest forests in the area.
Prairie Preserve - This large meadow displays a range of bluegrass habitats from riparian forests to former agricultural fields and warm season grass prairies. Watch carefully for the different wildlife that favor this unique landscape.