Scenic Landscape Index

Fayette County, Kentucky

Fayette County, Kentucky

Summary
This index favors more natural settings such as rural areas, forests, stream valleys, larger public parks, and areas of high relief. National Register of Historic Properties are included and while most properties were small and located in the urban core, larger properties with tree canopy scored a relatively high value in the index; Ashland and the Lexington Cemetery are examples. Locations in southern Fayette County scored the highest values because of their proximity to the forested cliffs of the Kentucky River Palisades. Neighboring river tributaries, such as Boone Creek and Elk Lick, extend high scenic values northward.

Link to full version of map

Link to full version of map

The area with highest contiguous value is Raven Run Park, primarily because it is publicly accessible, though unfortunately not during the time one might watch a sunrise or sunset. Notable scenic corridors are found along Town Branch, and the North and South Forks of Elkhorn Creek. Because the data used to calculate this index is from 2001 and 1998, some areas that score a high value, e.g. Hamburg area, have since been altered and would score lower values as the density of the built environment increased.

Methodology
Scenic conditions were converted to raster datasets and assessed an integer value based on a location’s proximity to tree canopy, water, historic areas, parks, scenic roads, and the probability of seeing a sunrise or sunset at that location. Those conditions are shown in the Fayette County maps found at the bottom of this page. A location is defined as a 5-foot resolution raster cell. Using Map Algebra, all raster datasets were overlaid to find which locations had the greatest number of scenic conditions. The resulting map provides a relative scenic landscape index. Locations with higher values in the index have more scenic conditions. For example, areas with the highest values offer the best chance to see a sunrise or sunset in a natural setting of forested parks, historic areas, or rural places with ponds or lakes. Areas with the lowest values are primarily dense urban environments without tree canopy cover, parks, historic areas, or ponds.

Layers in Index
Views of Sunsets and Sunrises is an index of areas to view sunsets and sunrises on the solstices, assuming one has a clear view of the sun at 8 degrees above the horizon on these two days. Areas that had the most likely view of a sunset or sunrise were awarded more value than areas with a less likely view.

Proximity to Tree Canopy and Water is an index of areas that are under tree canopy or on a waterbody (greater than a 1/4 acre), or within 200 feet of either. Any of these conditions awarded equal value in the index. Tree canopy derived from 1998 aerial photography.

Parks, National Register of Historic Properties, and Scenic Roads is an index of areas that were state parks or passive natural setting parks were awarded higher value in the index. Community parks, publicly accessible national register properties, and areas within 500 feet of county designated scenic roads were awarded lower, but equal, value in the index.

Densely Built Urban Environment is an index of areas with increasing density of built environment were awarded lower values in the index. Derived from the 2001 National Land Cover Database.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: