New Jefferson County Greenways Commission created to manage area nature preserves

Jefferson County Greenways Commission bill signing with Governor Kay Ivey (Governor Kay Ivey’s Flickr page)

In a move proposed and supported by the three largest nature preserves in Jefferson County, Governor Kay Ivey signed into law a bill establishing a Jefferson County Greenways Commission.

Unanimous support

Sponsored by Representative Rolanda Hollis and Senator Merika Coleman, and endorsed by the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation, the new Commission will oversee the maintenance and day-to-day operations at Ruffner Mountain, Red Mountain Park, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve and possibly other greenspaces in the future. 

Expanding the Greenways Commision role

Red Mountain trails in birmingham
Red Mountain Park. (Pat Byington / Bham Now)

This was made possible by the renaming of the Red Mountain Greenway and Recreational Area Commission to the Jefferson County Greenways Commission. This effectively expands the Commission’s role beyond Red Mountain Park. The new commission will now serve regionally all three parks and other special places that may be added to a greenway system.

“The establishment of the Jefferson County Greenways Commission marks an exciting shift in Jefferson County’s approach to park management,“ Ruffner Mountain’s Executive Director Carlee Sanford told Bham Now. 

Saving money by sharing staff and resources

According to supporters of the new law, the management consolidation will be more efficient and sustainable—saving money and other resources in the process.

Sanford explained:

“Visitors expect and deserve a high-quality, consistent experience across greenspaces county-wide. Through centralized operations, harnessing shared staff, equipment, expertise, and resources, we’re all set to enhance efficiency and provide an improved visitor experience. I’m eagerly anticipating the possibilities ahead!”

Investing in the sustainability of regional greenspaces

Birmingham Mountain High Hikers at Ruffner Mountain. (Pat Byington/)Bham Now)

Numerous organizations supported the legislative effort and demonstrated that support by  contributing financially to the effort, which is ultimately an investment in the sustainability of regional greenspaces in Jefferson County. They include:

  • Jefferson County Commission
  • Jefferson County Department of Health
  • Cities of Birmingham, Homewood, Irondale, and Pinson
  • State of Alabama
  • Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
  • Alabama Power Foundation
  • EBSCO Industries
  • Vulcan Materials

In a letter to Greenways Commission supporters, Sanford summed the effort up best:

“This is just the beginning of what we can accomplish when we move in the same direction together.”

Pat Byington
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.

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