IBA Home     Contacts     Criteria for Site Selection     IBA Map     IBA Sites     Links     Nomination Form      Technical Committee     TWRA Home

IBA symbol

Land Between the Lakes

    TWRA symbol

Land Between the Lakes

Location:  Between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, in the counties of Lyon and Trigg, Kentucky, and Stewart County, Tennessee.
Physiographic Province: PIF 14 (Interior Low Plateaus [Western Highland Rim]); BCR 27 (Southeastern Coastal Plain)
Tennessee IBA Site Map - LBL.bmp (80006 bytes)
Geographical Coordinates:
    Piney Campground--Lat. 362913N  Long. 0880151W
    Boswell Landing--Lat. 363102N  0880135W
    Gatlin Point--Lat. 363347N  Long. 0875423W
    Neville Bay--Lat. 363645N  Long. 0875500W
    The Home Place--Lat. 363923N  Long. 0875825W
    Rushing Creek Campground--Lat. 364011N  Long. 0880301W
Elevation Range:
    404' Piney Campground
    351' Boswell Landing
    351' Gatlin Point
    351' Neville Bay
    390' The Home Place
    361' Rushing Creek Campground   
Size:  170,000 acres (64,000 Tennessee and 106,000 Kentucky)
USGS 7.5' quads:  Hamlin, Linton, Paris Landing, Rushing Bay, Tharpe, others

LBL is the largest inland peninsula in the United States. This inland peninsula formed between Kentucky Lake (Tennessee River) and Lake Barkley (Cumberland River) is a 270-square-mile national recreation and environmental education area. It is the second largest contiguous block of forested public land east of the Mississippi River. The region was primarily an iron production center during the mid-19th century. Seventeen iron furnaces operated within what is now LBL. Within LBL, 42, 500 acres (25%) are set aside as a Biosphere Reserve. While most of LBL is forests, 7% (12,050 acres) consists of open lands; 2.3% (3,900 acres) farming activities for corn, soybeans, winter wheat and hay crops of which 20% is for wildlife; 0.6% (1,050 acres) for woods openings of 2-10-acres that provide habitat diversity and food for wildlife; and a (0.4%) 750-acre Elk & Bison Prairie that contains barrens grasslands.
    Some of what LBL contains includes: 420 miles of roads, 26 lake access areas with boat ramps, 5 courtesy docks, 4 fishing piers, 6 beaches, 90 bridges, 5 dams, 200 miles of hiking and biking trails, over 90 miles of horse and wagon trails, 1,535 campsites in four developed campgrounds, five lake access areas with primitive camping, virtually unlimited backcountry camping, and 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline (more shoreline than Lake Superior--3,500 miles versus 2, 590 miles.)

IBA Criteria:  2, 3, 4f

Ornithological Importance:  Contains several Tennessee In Need of Management species: Cerulean Warbler:  A small group of 3-5 singing males present 2004-2005 at and around Bear Creek at the South Entrance. Henslow's Sparrow: Seven territories were documented in 2003 and 2 were monitored on the Tennessee side. By 2005, the wet meadow/cool season grassland area was converted to Native Warm Season Grasses as part of open lands ecological restoration work in LBL. This conversion should provide increased habitat quality for Henslow Sparrows in the future.
    Note 1. The winter number of Bald Eagles, a Tennessee In Need of Management species, rank among the top four in Tennessee. The ten-year average (1991-2000) from the Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey is 38 birds. The table below summaries this survey 1991-2000, 2003. There are 11 active nesting sites (Tennessee and Kentucky).

Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey LBL (Tennessee)  1991-2000, 2003
Bald Eagle19911992199319941995199619971998199920002003

    Note 2. The large and diversified habitats within the LBL attract a complement of species in their respective habitats. During the migration periods, the woods hold large numbers of neotropical migrants. Some 25-30 species of warblers in a day occur regularly in the spring. During the breeding season, over 40 neotropical species regularly breed including 17 species of warblers and 4 species of vireos. The vast interior woods hold significant numbers of Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Ovenbird, Summer Tanager, and Scarlet Tanager. Along edges and in bottomlands, Northern Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Kentucky Warbler are common. Individual numbers of year-round species are high among them Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, and White-breasted Nuthatch indicative of the mature wooded habitat.
        Point Counts: A total of 411 counts on 4 Tennessee routes, 1993-2000, resulted in 4,820 individuals of 78 species. The table below summaries the top 20 species by relative abundance of individuals on counts. Of the top 20 species, 12 species were neotropical (60%).

Top 20 Species On Counts at LBL (Tennessee)
By Relative Abundance of Individuals 1993-2000


American Crow317
Indigo Bunting*302
Red-eyed Vireo*298
Yellow-billed Cuckoo*295
Eastern Wood-Pewee*189
Yellow-breasted Chat*180
White-eyed Vireo*177
Brown-headed Cowbird157
Tufted Titmouse148
Northern Cardinal146
Acadian Flycatcher*141
Scarlet Tanager*139
Blue Jay139
Common Yellowthroat*128
Summer Tanager*127
Carolina Wren125
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher*125
Eastern Towhee109
Wood Thrush*105
White-breasted Nuthatch104
* = neotropical 


Site Criteria



Avg. No Season

Max. No. Season

Years of Data


2Bald Eagle (NOM) (See Note 1 above.)W, BW-38, B-11W-471991-20005

Habitat: Large and natural (See Note 2 above.)






4fLand Birds: Neotropical (See Note 2 above.)B, SM, FM   4
Season1   B = Breeding, W = Wintering, SM = Spring Migration, FM = Fall Migration
Source 2  1-Atlas Breeding Birds of Tennessee 2-Breeding Bird Surveys 3-Christmas Bird Counts
4-Point Counts 5-Refuge Counts 6-Personal observations 7-Other (specify)

Ownership:  US Forest Service (formerly TVA).

Conservation Concerns: 

Management Program:  TVA completed a Natural Resource Management Plan in 1994 prior to the transfer of the area to the US Forest Service. The US Forest Service completed a Land and Resource Management Plan in 2004.

Submitted by: 

Additional Contributors:  

Approved as an IBA site:  February 2006--Yes 6  No 1

This page was last updated on 02/19/06.