Conservation efforts in Huntsville have received a boost from its local citizens, expanding by 13 percent a downtown nature preserve established with contributions from big corporate employers.
Individuals contributed a little over $80,000 towards the purchase of 86 acres on Chapman Mountain through donations to the Land Trust of North Alabama. The city of Huntsville had already pledged $100,000 towards this property purchase as part of its Greenway Master Plan. The Land Trust is contributing approximately $100,000 as its part to complete the purchase, which was a total of $280,000.
The acquisition is right next to downtown Huntsville, and when combined with the Alabama A&M University lands and the existing Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve, will create approximately 650 uninterrupted acres. The space will be available for public recreation trails, a safe haven for plants and animals and provide new opportunities for hands-on environmental education for children and adults.
North Alabama is experiencing incredible growth, and Huntsville could overtake Birmingham as the largest city in the state in less than 10 years. But with incredible growth also comes a threat to natural lands, which provide space for exercise and respite, as well as providing a place where the next generation can explore nature.
The Chapman Mountain area has remained an untouched woodland for many years and is full of wildlife, hardwood trees and interesting features. The Land Trust began its efforts to preserve the mountain in 2001, and through the support of Terry Properties, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama and Vulcan Materials Co., was able to open the Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve in 2018. The preserve is comprised of 371 acres and has an education pavilion and more than three miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Through a recent partnership with Alabama A&M, the trail system is now being expanded to access 188 adjoining acres owned by the university. The addition of this new 86-acre purchase will expand the preserved lands available for wildlife to safely live and travel in a heavily developed community.