Forever Wild adds 4591 acres to parks, wildlife areas and preserves in 2022 fiscal year

View Of Belcher Tract
View of the proposed Forever Wild Belcher Tract, L to R – Steve Northcutt, TNC in Alabama Director of Protection, Forever Wild Board member Jim McClintock, Scot Duncan and Bryant Turner, Jr. ( The Nature Conservancy in Alabama)

Forever Wild, the state of Alabama’s popular public lands program, added 4,591 acres to state nature preserves, wildlife areas and Oak Mountain State Park in fiscal year 2022, which ended in September.

Established as a constitutional amendment in November 1992, the Forever Wild Program has protected and preserved over 300,000 acres on 200+ tracts of land over three decades.

Forever Wild Lands Bought in FY 2022

Forever Wild
Forever Wild’s Turkey Creek property in Jefferson County. (Pat Byington (Bham Now)

Here are the properties that were purchased between October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022: 

Coldwater Mountain Carroll Addition in Calhoun County – 43 acres — This addition, which is a critical in-holding, supports the management of  Coldwater Mountain, a mecca for mountain biking near Anniston.

D’Olive Bay Addition in Baldwin County – 29 acres — The nature preserve/recreation area in between Spanish Fort and  Daphne is a mosaic of mixed hardwoods and pines, with low-lying areas eventually draining into Mobile Bay. 

Oak Mountain State Park – Belcher Lake Addition in Shelby County – 1611 acres — A historic acquisition, this land is located in one of the fastest growing communities in the state of Alabama. It is now preserved.

Red Hills Parris Trust Addition in Monroe County – 305 acres — Part of the Red Hills Complex in Monroe County. The area is adjacent to existing holdings that provide crucial habitat for the federally listed red hills salamander, and many other rare species of plants and animals occupying these habitats.

Styx River Wetlands in Baldwin County – 140 acres — The Styx River Wetlands area has long been identified as a conservation priority since the Forest Legacy (pg 42) state-wide assessment.

Turkey Creek Nature Preserve Parker Addition Tract – 173 acres — This tract expands the Forever Wild’s most visited nature preserve. Over 100,000 people visited Turkey Creek in 2021, which is also home to the rare Vermilion Darter.

Thigpen Hill Addition in Butler County – 2290 acres — This tract is managed by the state Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries as a Special Opportunity Area (SOA) and Recreation Area

Next Up

At its last meeting on November 3rd in Tuscaloosa,  the Forever Wild Board of Trustees voted to move forward with appraisals and authority to purchase another addition to the Red Hills  Complex in Monroe County. The Board also approved an appraisal of an addition to Oak Mountain State Park, but voted to wait on the purchase.

The next meeting of the Board is scheduled this coming February 2023 in Montgomery.

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Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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