CLERMONT, Ky. — Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest will close to public visitation until further notice beginning March 26.

The decision was made to help control the spread of COVID-19 in Kentucky, Bernheim Executive Director Mark Wourms said. Bernheim made the decision anticipating an increase in visitors as it gets warmer. 

"This decision was not taken lightly, as we believe in the healing powers of nature," Wourms said. "We also recognize that we need to do our part in helping to control the rapid spread of COVID-19 by discouraging public gathering."

All programs through May 3 are canceled and will be rescheduled when possible. There was no date on when Bernheim would reopen at this time.

"Although we prefer to immerse our guests in nature, Bernheim simply cannot allow crowds to gather inadvertently as attendance increases in the spring," Wourms said.

Last year, 530,000 people visited the research forest from all 50 states and over 36 countries.

RELATED: These are the life-sustaining businesses that will remain open in Kentucky

RELATED: Real-time updates: 39 new cases of coronavirus brings statewide total to 163

►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.  

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.