Happy news, nature fans—the Forever Wild Land Trust has expanded the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve by 170 acres. According to the State of Alabama’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources State Lands Division and the Southern Environmental Center, the new addition was recently purchased. This increases the Preserve’s total acreage from 485 acres to 655. Read on to get the scoop.
The 170-acre park addition shares a 3,000-foot property line with the existing Turkey Creek Nature Preserve Forever Wild tract.
This new addition is important because it protects more land around the existing preserve, which is home to numerous federally-protected species and has the potential to expand recreational opportunities at one Forever Wild’s most visited tracts.
Where is the new addition?
The new addition is located west of the Turkey Creek tract and west of Narrows Road.
While the borders have always extended to this side of the road, there has not been enough room to create opportunities for public access. Now, with the new addition available, it will be possible.
What the expansion means for Turkey Creek
Charles Yeager with the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve filled us in on the positive impact the new addition will have. Here are some:
1. It will protect the forested slopes above Turkey Creek.
Turkey Creek is home to a number of rare and endangered species, including:
- 4 endangered species of fish (another soon to be listed)
- 2 endangered bats
- 1 threatened turtle
By protecting the forested slopes above Turkey Creek, its water quality and animals will also be protected.
2. It will present unique opportunities for forest management.
If possible, there is an opportunity to plant and manage the new addition for Montane Longleaf Pine. This is a rare habitat that is important for the state’s ecosystem.
3. The Park will be able to expand its trail system to meet the growing need of its visitors.
“Prior to this addition, we had made the most of the tract’s 485 acres by adding over 5.5 miles of trail, including 3.2 miles of multi-use, single track, bike trail. While these trails are well used and appreciated, the most common request from hikers and bikers is for more.”Charles Yeager, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve
Can’t wait to take advantage of the Park’s new trail system?
Be patient, it will take some time. Forever Wild will need to develop a management plan first.
“Before we can open this area up for public access, we are going to work with State Lands to develop a management plan for the tract. We will need to evaluate parking, gates, and develop the trail system. It may take a few years to do this and secure the funding needed to implement this correctly.”Charles Yeager, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve
How you can help
Want to keep Turkey Creek Nature Preserve thriving? While the park addition will help meet the growing demands for more access to public green spaces, it’s only possible with continued local and state-wide support.
Here’s how you can help:
- Support the Southern Environmental Central, the Friends of Turkey Creek and the Friends of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.
- Attend the unveiling of the Darter IPA at Good People Brewing, Friday, September 9.
- Take part in the Darter Scramble, the first-ever Eco Golf Tournament, held at Highland Park Golf Course on September 26.
- Sign up for the Darter Dash 5K & 10K Trail Run taking place at Turkey Creek on October 8.
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