It is hard to believe that waves of seawater once broke upon and submerged the Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky, west of the Tennessee River. Disbelief subsides once you view Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge, an area of sloughs and swamps rimmed with bald cypress, resembling Louisiana more than anywhere in Kentucky. The Jackson Purchase was at the northeastern corner of the Gulf of Mexico millions of years ago.
The Clarks River, named for George Rogers Clark, meanders back and forth through this low country of thick alluvial soils, creating unique untamed bottomland hardwood habitat. The dwindling amount of wetlands prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to establish the Clarks River National Wildlife Refuge, the only one located solely within Kentucky’s borders. Clarks River also escaped the ravages of channelization, making it one of the few streams in the region left in its natural state. (KYFWR)