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Mountain bike group shows interest in Turkey Creek land

By Lee Weyhrich

Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Pinson may be the most popular destination in Alabama’s Forever Wild program, Resident Manager Charles Yeager said Thursday.

“We experienced a lot of growth and attendance,” Yeager said. “We experienced numbers well over 100,000 last year, which would make Turkey Creek the most visited track of land in the Forever Wild program and certainly a very popular site.”

Roughly 25,000 people also attended the preserve’s various events and educational programs, he said.

A sign at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Pinson
photo courtesy of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve

The increase in visitation, however, was only one of the items Yeager was excited about.

Yeager on Thursday submitted a nomination letter for a 244-acre tract of land to the Forever Wild Board. The land is on the southern border of Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, and has been owned by the Shepard family for decades.

“They have owned the property for over 60 years, and most of it is untouched except for an area they farmed,” Yeager said. “There are massive persimmon trees, oak trees, and there is a towering longleaf pine back on the property. It is a beautiful property with sandstone bluffs.”

A mountain bike association called Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers is already interested in creating bike trails on the property. The group has designed trails at Oak Mountain and Tannehill state parks that have brought visitors from all over the country, Yeager said.

Their plan would add 11 miles of trails. Turkey Creek currently has 4.5 miles of bike trails. The process for land acquisition is a lengthy one, however, Yeager said. Properties are given scores based on certain features and higher scoring properties are passed on to the Forever Wild Board. Yeager is sure the land will be accepted due to the ideal qualities of the property.

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