Boasting 15 miles of trails, this Birmingham treasure is almost twice the size of New York City’s Central Park. It is a prime example of a community working together to create urban green spaces. Welcome to Red Mountain Park. Check out what else you may not know.
1. It’s a window into the past.
From the 1840s to 1962, miners took some 305 million tons of iron ore from the land currently known as Red Mountain Park. Today, you can visit historical mines No. 10, 13 and 14 at the park. (Get the full story on how Birmingham returned the 1,500-acre park to a natural oasis.)
2. The gravel beneath your feet came from a local name you know.
As a neighbor to the park, Vulcan Materials Company has partnered with Red Mountain Park since its beginning in 2007, giving financial support and material donations.
“They’ve offered what they’re great at, which is supplying aggregate materials. We’ve built and resurfaced trails, event spaces and our parking lots with materials donated by Vulcan Materials Company.”T.C. McLemore, executive director, Red Mountain Park
3. It’s inclusive.
The 0.14 mile Butler Snow Sensory Trail near the entrance of Red Mountain Park serves children and adults with developmental differences, who have low vision and/or low hearing or who use wheelchairs. It includes 14 activities, a comfort zone and a pergola with swinging benches, plus items to help with sensory over-stimulation such as ear buds and fidget toys.
Visitors with physical disabilities can also reserve one of two high-powered, off-road wheelchairs called The Nomads free of charge.
4. Your high-flying adventure awaits.
Beyond hiking and mountain bike trails, Red Mountain Park is the place for all sorts of outdoor adventures, from rope courses to treehouses and even a climbing tower.
For an extra dose of adrenaline, try the Vulcan Materials Zip Trip, which includes seven zip lines, a sky bridge and a rope swing. The Zip Trip is sponsored by Vulcan Materials Company and its revenue serves as long-term support for the park.
5. Dog heaven does exist.
Remy’s Dog Park at Red Mountain Park is six acres of pure, unadulterated doggy bliss. There are even special sections for large dogs, small dogs and special needs dogs. Not only is it one of Bham Now’s top six places to walk your dog in Birmingham, but Southern Living Magazine named it one of the “10 Great Southern Dog Parks.” Woof.
6. High Ore Line Trail opens spring 2019.
The 1.5 mile project, led by the Freshwater Land Trust, will connect the existing High Ore Line Trail to Red Mountain Park. It’s all part of plans for the 750 mile Red Rock Trail System, of which 120 miles have been completed or incorporated since 2010. A new parking lot on the western side of the park will serve as a trailhead.
“Red Mountain Park is excited to connect to Jefferson County’s growing Red Rock Trail System. Our goal is for Birmingham residents to have access to long, connected trail loops where they can walk, run and bike without using a car or having to turn around. This new trail makes those longer trail loops possible.”T.C. McLemore, executive director, Red Mountain Park
Freshwater Land Trust and Red Mountain Park worked closely with park neighbor Vulcan Materials Company to secure land donations necessary for the trail’s route.
“The High Ore Line Trail itself is beautiful. Built on an elevated rail bed, the trail is level with the tree canopy, which is especially pretty in the spring and fall. And it provides beautiful views of Valley Creek year round.”T.C. McLemore, executive director, Red Mountain Park
7. About 130,000 people visit every year.
That’s a lot of foot traffic. You can help maintain this natural respite by becoming a member of Red Mountain Park. Annual memberships help support reforestation efforts and maintenance of the public trails and dog park.
8. It has a great neighbor.
You might not know it when you visit Red Mountain Park, but in addition to being a corporate partner, Vulcan Materials Company is also a neighbor. Its Lakeshore Quarry abuts park property.
Buffer zones around the quarry provide a viewshed, so you would not know a quarry is next door to the park. This type of land management is Vulcan Materials’ standard operating procedure. Other best operating practices include dust control, wheel washes (which keeps trucks leaving the quarry from tracking dust on the road) and, most importantly, a top-notch safety record.
This year, the Vulcan Materials team that operates the Lakeshore Quarry earned a coveted spot in the Zero Club, Vulcan Materials’ safety award for the best of the best. Here’s a breakdown of what that means:
- Number of environmental citations: Zero.
- MSHA or OSHA citations: Zero.
- Injuries: Zero.
- Significant preventable property or liability losses: Zero.
- Open cases of worker overexposure to noise or dust: Zero.
- Plus, 100 percent worker participation in annual audiometric testing and pulmonary function tests.
With the bar set high and celebrations and incentives awarded, all 22 quarries across Vulcan Materials’ Southern and Gulf Coast Division strive for Zero Club status.
For more about Vulcan Materials, check out its 17-year corporate partnership with Ruffner Mountain.