Where are Forever Wild preserves and parks in and around Birmingham? We’ve got answers.

If traveling is out of the question, head over to Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Pinson, Ala. for some fly fishing, hiking and swimming (Brr.) Photo by Christine Hull
Forever Wild
Forever Wild’s Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. Photo from Alabamians for Forever Wild.

Established in November 1992 as a constitutional amendment, the Forever Wild Land Trust has secured nearly 270,000 acres for public use.

Considered one of the most successful conservation programs in Alabama history, the Forever Wild Land Trust has protected and preserved natural areas throughout the state creating more than 220 miles of recreational trails within 22 new recreation areas and nature preserves, while providing additions to 10 State Parks and 16 Wildlife Management Areas.

Birmingham Alabama
Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Earlier this month, a Bham Now reader posed the question…

“Where are the Forever Wild preserves and parks in and around Birmingham?”

Just in time for the official first day of summer on June 21 – we have the answers.

 Ruffner Mountain

Ruffner Mountain in Birmingham. One-third of Ruffner is Forever Wild property. Photo courtesy of Ruffner Mountain.

Did you know Ruffner Mountain is larger than New York City’s Central Park? That distinction was made possible in 2000, when Forever Wild added 227 acres to Ruffner Mountain. Popular and beloved, explore Ruffner this summer. Get all the details – HERE.

Turkey Creek Nature Preserve

If traveling is out of the question, head over to Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Pinson, Ala. for some fly fishing, hiking and swimming (Brr.) Photo by Christine Hull
If traveling is out of the question, head over to Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Pinson, Ala. for some fly fishing, hiking and swimming (Brr.) Photo by Christine Hull

Home to one of the rarest fish in the world – the Vermilion darter – the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is also Forever Wild’s most popular site  during the summer months.  Jointly supported by the Southern Environmental Center and the Freshwater Land Trust, the preserve is about to add some new facilities, including a pavilion.  Meanwhile, take a dip in one of the state’s  most popular swimming hole. Visit the Friends of Turkey Creek  website – HERE.

Tannehill Land and Ridges Tract

Tannehill Historical State Park

Located in Jefferson and Bibb Counties, Tannehill Ironworks  Historical State Park recently added a 553 acre Forever Wild tract expanding the park to include recreational opportunities such as  horseback riding. Here is the link to the Forever Wild Horse Trail Map – and details about Tannehill, a true “natural gem” west of Birmingham. Visit their website – HERE.

Cahaba River-Shelby County Park

Screenshot of the Cahaba River Park from the Shelby County Tourism video.

Forever Wild’s newest park, this “green oasis” near Helena is located at the confluence of the Cahaba River and Shades Creek. Forever Wild added 1,212 aces to Shelby County’s portion earlier this year.

The north sector of the park  features 17 miles of professionally designed and constructed trails for hiking, mountain biking and trail-running enthusiasts.

Learn all about the park from Bham Now’s May 2019 story on the grand opening – HERE.

Coldwater Mountain

Mountain Biking at Coldwater Mountain. Photo courtesy of the Northeast Alabama Bicycle Association

Even though it is about 50 miles from Birmingham right off I-20 near Anniston, Forever Wild’s Coldwater Mountain has been recognized as one of the best mountain bike trails in the nation. If you love mountain biking – this is becoming a Mecca for the sport.  Here are the DETAILS.

Wildlife Management Areas

Forever Wild
Fishing in Alabama. Photo courtesy of Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by Matt Ragland

And don’t forget the Wildlife Management Areas which are available during hunting season and year round for fishing and birding.

Here are where the Forever Wild Tracts are (areas were expanded by Forever Wild):

William R. Ireland Sr.-Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area Tract in Shelby and Bibb counties

Mulberry Fork Wildlife Management Area Tract in Walker and Tuscaloosa counties

Find ALL of Forever Wilds Tracts

If you want to find all the Forever Wild tracts – Visit the Forever Wild GIS Map at:

http://conservationgis.alabama.gov/fwlt/

Also, go to: https://www.alabamaforeverwild.com for info and directions.

Public Lands

Have fun this summer enjoying the outdoors – and please take advantage of Alabama’s Forever Wild lands. They are there for the public – and that means ALL OF US.

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.