would cut one-third of Forever Wild money and reallocate it to support volunteer fire departments, the Soil and Water Conservation Committee and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Senate Bill 255 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial.
In 1992, citizens of Alabama overwhelmingly voted to establish the Forever Wild Land Trust and its Board of Trustees. The constitutional amendment passed by a vote of 83 percent, the largest margin for a land trust amendment in any southeastern state. The first land purchase was made in 1994, and since then many significant tracts have been added to Alabama’s land trust program. Habitat for bald eagles, wetlands, and recreation such as hiking, bird watching, horseback riding and hunting are just some of the uses of Forever Wild land.
All Forever Wild Land Purchases are managed by the State Lands Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. According to Assistant Division Director Greg
Lein, many Forever Wild acquisitions are accomplished utilizing both state funding and other monies. “We are able to leverage state money with federal funding and grants to establish greater purchasing power,” he said.
The Forever Wild Program is funded by a percentage of the interest earned from state royalties on offshore natural gas leases belonging to Alabama. “In essence,” Lein said, “money from one natural resource – gas – is being reinvested in another natural resource – land – for the benefit of Alabama citizens. Land is a tangible resource that will be here forever.”
One of the more prominent tracts purchased by Forever Wild is the
Mobile-Tensaw Delta Tract, which includes more than 45,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods, cypress-tupelo swamps, bogs, marshes and a variety of other wetland habitat types and waterways.
Lauderdale and Freedom Hills Wildlife Management Area Tract in northwest Alabama comprise 31,000 acres that serve as public land additions to two wildlife management areas. This land is a much-needed addition to public hunting areas that are in recent decline.
A Forever Wild Acquisition that has garnered much recent publicity is the
Walls of Jericho purchase in Jackson County. This 12,500-acre tract is comprised of mountainous and woody terrain and hosts caves, bluffs and springs. The site is already popular with hikers, campers, wildlife watchers and hunters.
Not all purchases are so large, however. Many smaller tracts are just as important to Alabama’s land conservation program. For instance, the
Fort Toulouse Tract in Elmore County consists of 254 acres of upland pine-hardwood forestland along the Alabama River. It has a long natural history that includes the development of Native American cultures, the interaction between Indian and European cultures and the development of the American State of Alabama. It is being managed as a park addition to Historic Fort Toulouse-Jackson National Historic Park.
Conservation Commissioner Barnett Lawley emphasizes that every Forever Wild tract is significant to Alabama. “The Board examines the benefits of every nominated tract and only those that meet the land use requirements are purchased. I’m very proud of the decisions made by the Board on behalf of the people of Alabama,” Lawley said.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR and the Forever Wild Program visit
The following includes lands purchased during the last fiscal year
Forever Wild Acquisitions During 2003-2004
Swamp-Caney Bayou Tract – Acquired by the Board on November 8, 2003, this 320 acre tract in Baldwin County consists of pine savannah wetland habitat, adjacent the Perdido River and upper Perdido Bay, that is being managed as a nature preserve.
Coldwater Mountain Addition-McCartney Tract
– Acquired by the Board on December 3, 2003, this 280-acre Calhoun County tract consists of mixed pine-hardwood forest near Anniston and Oxford. This addition to the Coldwater Mountain tract was secured through a 2:1 acre property exchange. The Forever Wild Land Trust Board approved the exchange of 141 acres for the McCartney Tract’s 280 acres. This addition provides alternate access to the now 4,063 acres of public land on Coldwater Mountain.
Weeks Bay Harris And Worcester Tracts – Located in Baldwin County, these tracts were acquired by the Board on January 14, 2004 and consist of a 64 acre parcel and a 49 acre parcel. These tracts, which are largely comprised of forest and marsh wetland habitats, were acquired with financial support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the National Coastal Wetlands program. These tracts will be utilized for habitat conservation, scientific research and education.
Jacob Farm Addition Tract – Acquired by the Board on February 5, 2004 and located in Jackson County, this 182.5 acre tract is located in the vicinity of the Little Coon Creek and Coon Creek confluence. The tract serves as an addition to Skyline and Crow Creek Wildlife Management Areas, physically linking the two together along Coon Creek. This acquisition will facilitate enhanced public hunting and habitat conservation in Jackson County.
Periwinkle Spring Addition Tract – Located in Madison County this tract was acquired by the Board on February 20, 2004. This tract consists of 40 acres that will serve as an addition to Monte Sano State Park. The tract boasts one of the only permanent springs in that portion of the mountain, and also supports a small population of federally listed wildflowers.
Walls Of Jericho Tract – Acquired by the Board on February 26, 2004 and located in Jackson County, this tract consists of 12,510 acres bordering Tennessee. The tract is comprised of mountainous and wooded terrain, hosting caves, springs, rocky bluffs and portions of the headwaters of the Paintrock River. The tract is adjacent to Skyline Wildlife Management Area, on its western boundary. Anticipated uses include habitat conservation, outdoor recreation, scientific research and education.
Jacinto Port – Uplands And Wetlands Tract – Located in Mobile County this tract consists of 2,888 acres of wetlands and 484 acres of uplands. Acquired by the Board on June 1, 2004, this tract is largely comprised of sensitive forest and marsh wetland habitats. This acquisition was supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through a $1 Million National Coastal Wetlands grant. An additional 659 acres of upland forest habitat was acquired by the State Lands Division through a $2.9 Million U.S. Forest Service Forest Legacy grant.
Grand Bay Savanna Little River Road Addition – Acquired by the Board on June 30, 2004, this Mobile County tract consists of 113 acres of piney flatwoods. This acquisition was supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the National Coastal Wetlands program. This tract serves as an addition to the property acquired in 1996, all of which is being managed as a Nature Preserve.
Knotty Pine Tract – Located in Dekalb County, this tract was acquired by the Board on July 16, 2004. Consisting of 45.46 acres, this tract will serve as an addition to Desoto State Park, and will provide for expansion of the park’s trail system. It will also serve as a buffer from future development on adjacent land.
Splinter Hill Bog – IP Addition – Acquired by the Board on September 24, 2004, this Baldwin County tract consists of approximately 264 acres of a 507-acre tract of longleaf pine and bog habitat, at the headwaters of the Perdido River. The tract adjoins the Splinter Hill Bog-Ben May Tract, and is being managed as a nature preserve to forward the conservation of these rare natural communities. The remainder of the tract was acquired by the State Lands Division through Coastal Impact Assistance Program funding, provided through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
Bon Secour Beck Tract – Acquired by the Board on September 27, 2004, this Baldwin County tract consists of approximately 11 acres adjoining the Weeks Bay Reserve holdings. The tract’s wetlands are being managed as a nature preserve consistent with the management of adjacent Weeks Bay Reserve lands. This acquisition was supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through the National Coastal Wetlands program.