RNA: Rock Creek
Forest: Daniel Boone (established under Cumberland National Forest)
District: established under Sublimity RD
Established: 1939; Acres: 189
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Ecological/Physical Description: The natural area embraces the Rock Creek drainages of the Rockcastle River. It is one of the very few remaining examples of the virgin hemlock-hardwood forest type formerly widespread in the Cumberland Mountains. The natural beauty of the area has small natural bridge, sandstone caves, small waterfalls, large thrifty timber, flowering shrubs, unusual cliff formations and lessor herbaceous vegetation. The boundary (with the exception of two small stretches) coincides with the almost unbroken cliff line surrounding the drainage.
Physical and Climatic Conditions
Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA: Stearns, KY, about 20 miles SW of the area.
Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution): The average rainfall is 34.32 inches.
Maximum and minimum temperatures: Average temperature range is from 5 degrees F to 108 degrees F. The frost-free period is from May 8 to October 16.
Elevation: 850 – 900 feet
Geology and Soils: The sandstone cliffs surrounding the area vary from 10 to 100 feet in height. There are six gaps in the cliff line that permit ready access through the area. Through one of the gaps, the visitor goes under a small natural bridge which is about 10 feet wide and 30 feet long. The area, surrounded by nearly impassable cliffs, is rough. There are many large boulders on the ground having a volume of over 5000 cu. Ft. The soil is sandy, varying in fertility but generally of the same condition as found in cover timber types. Seams of conglomerate rock showing water-worn quartz pebbles outcrop in the area. Soil in cover types is a light brown sandy loam covered with a heavy duff and forest litter.
Aquatic Features: small amount of water available.
Plant Communities: Yellow poplar, white oak, red maple, beech, hickory, black birch, mixed oaks, black gum, basswood, Virginia pine, Chestnut oak, northern red oak, sugar maple.
SAF Cover Types (acres):
Hemlock – Hardwood (176.24)
Yellow Pine – Hardwoods (3.00)
Yellow Pine – (10.60)
At Risk Species:
Common Shrub Species: rhododendron, laurel, holly, dogwood, sourwood, witch hazel, wahoo.
Common Herbaceous Species:
Common Mammal Species:
Common Bird Species:
Related Reports and Publications:
Additional reports and publications can also be found by clicking on the “RNA Publications and Products” link in the site menu or by clicking here.
Last Modified: 9/29/2015 by Mary Mallinson Long (email@example.com)