Lilley Cornett Woods Appalachian Ecological Research Station
Located in Letcher County in the southeastern corner of Kentucky, Lilley Cornett Woods (LCW) encompasses 554 acres of mixed mesophytic forest. A portion of the total acreage, 252 acres, is designated as "old-growth" forest; a forest which has not undergone any manmade changes in 150 years.
Biodiversity of plants and animals abound at LCW. There are over 530 species of flowering plants and an estimated 700 breeding pairs of birds present. In addition, a variety of small mammals, amphibians and reptiles call Lilley Cornett Woods home.
Due to the unique nature of this ecosystem, it is an ideal location for ecological and environmental research. Thirty six completed studies have been documented, ranging from small animal surveys to hydrological investigation and archeological assessments of rock shelters. One of the most important investigations has been the decadal forest composition research which has taken place over the past 40 years. In order to conduct research at LCW, a proposal must be submitted in writing prior to conducting the research. The Division of Natural Areas' research protocol is located on the "Research" link on the "Explore" vertical menu.
LCW is a U.S. Department of the Interior registered national landmark and a registered natural area of the Society of American Foresters. Also, LCW is a designated State Wildlife Refuge, as such the following are prohibited:
- collecting of plants, animals or artifacts
Visitor Center Hours
- April 1 - October 31: Open daily: 8:30 am - 5 pm
- November - April by appointment only
Public access to Lilley Cornett Woods' two designated trails is by guided tours only. Hikers may choose between the 2 hour guided tour and the 4 hour guided tour. Tours are not regularly scheduled, but are available during Visitor Center hours on a first come, first serve basis. Calling ahead to schedule a tour is recommended. For groups and classes, contact the manager in advanced to schedule a tour.
Research: Housing Information
Housing, in the historic Ledford-Craig house, is available on a year round basis for researchers. The house is located adjacent to Lilley Cornett Woods and has accommodations for a maximum of 8 people. Below is the complete list of fees and housing policies, as well as frequently asked questions. For further information, contact EKU's Division of Natural Areas: 859-622-1476.
Lilley Cornett Woods
91 Lilley Cornett Branch
Hallie, Kentucky 41821