At a Glance

A new master plan will assist Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in its vision to “be a nationally treasured leader in ecological stewardship that inspires the exploration of our deep connections with nature.”

Project Description

Envisioned by its donor, philanthropist Isaac W. Bernheim, as place where all people could find peace, understanding, and common interest in nature, regardless of race, creed, or economic status, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest (Bernheim Forest) spans more than 15,600 acres. Its landscape is home to a 600-acre arboretum, 40 miles of hiking trails, extensive natural areas, and thousands of native plant and animal species. Its woodlands, prairies, lake, and wetlands make up the largest privately-owned preserved forest in Kentucky and the Eastern United States.

As a key member of a master planning team led by Studio Outside, Biohabitats helped the Arboretum develop a plan to enhance the visitor experience and enable the facility to expand its influence as a leader in environmental education, eco-tourism, and a habitat stewardship. The plan, which prioritizes potential uses, linkage, maintenance, and stewardship of the property, also identifies additional sources of revenue, supports the Bernheim brand, and utilizes sustainable and regenerative design practices.

Biohabitats began by assessing the site’s ecological and green infrastructure conditions. This included an examination of the surrounding watershed, an evaluation of existing water infrastructure, and the identification of potential stormwater retrofit locations, with a particular emphasis on low impact development best management practices and opportunities for ecological restoration. Biohabitats also reviewed Bernheim Forest’s Land Management Plan and the current Lake Management strategies. With the assessment complete, Biohabitats participated in series of planning charrette with staff, stakeholders and the team to develop a master plan to make Bernheim Forest a place for generations to experience nature in the future.



Ohio River

Physiographic Province

The Knobs, Outer Bluegrass


Salt River

Expertise Areas

Conservation, Ecological Restoration, Infrastructure, Water


Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest


Clermont, Kentucky, United States


2019 ASLA Honor Award for Analysis & Planning

Project Team
  • Studio Outside
  • LakeFlato