Kentucky lies at the heart of the central hardwood forests of the United States, an area stretching from Ohio to the Ozark plateau. One of the dominant woodland types in that ecoregion is oak-hickory, and the Coppiced Woods is the best example of an oak-hickory forest within The Parklands.
The Coppiced Woods Trail rambles just below William F. Miles Lakes and links up to the Louisville Loop. As you hike it, you’ll notice single trees with two or more trunks — a feature called “coppicing,” which occurs when fires, storms, logging, flooding, or even trampling by deer split the wood. Many tree species resprout from the original stump base, including ash, maple, hickory, and particularly oak. Evidence of coppicing indicates that these woods were likely logged around 1915. Although we don’t know why they were first cut, white oak is used for whiskey barrels and hickory is used for furniture and tool handles, so this forest lends a retrospective view into the history of this area’s settlement.