From The Tribune staff reports
SPRINGVILLE — The groundbreaking ceremony was held on Thursday, March 3, on the Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve in Springville.
Through a land-use plan created by MacKnally Land Design, it was determined by public input that there was a desire for recreational use on this property. The types of recreation desired were then matched with activities the property could support while still maintaining its primary purpose of preserving green space within a growing community.
The groundbreaking ceremony celebrated the beginning of simple foundational aspects of the preserve property, including improvements to the entrance road and the initiation of its first hiking trail designed by Flow Motion Trail Builders through a contract with the City of Springville. Once completed, the goal is to have a series of trails that will eventually cross the Preserve. Other activities anticipated to eventually become part of the Preserve’s offerings include horseback riding, kayaking, and hiking.
“The Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve is a project that we are all behind here in Springville,” Springville Mayor Dave Thomas said. “Giving the public a place to experience the beauty of this area, increase their knowledge about nature, exercise, and spend time in the quietness of the outdoors is something this entire administration has a desire to do. Previous administrations began this project, and we plan to see it through. We look forward to welcoming those in the surrounding communities as they visit Springville to enjoy this beautiful area at the heart of our community.”
“After working toward this project for over 13 years, we are excited to see this dream becoming a reality,” Chairman of the Big Canoe Creek Preserves Partners organization, Doug Morrison, said. “In order to preserve nature, create an appreciation for the Big Canoe Creek Watershed, and to give the public a place to observe this beautiful piece of property, there were a lot of partnerships and moving pieces that had to come together. We want to continue to grow the amenities on this property that complement it and highlight how special it is while teaching those coming up how to conserve and preserve their local environment. There are many special organisms, flora, and fauna on this property, which is why it ranked so highly on Forever Wild’s list of potential properties.”
To support the future plans and growth of the Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve, the Big Canoe Creek Preserve Partners, Inc. (BCCPP) was created. This organization is a non-profit formed to promote the conservation and preservation of the Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve through outreach, awareness, public engagement, education, and research activities. According to its mission statement, it will serve as a tax-exempt organization to advance fundraising efforts that support sustainable recreational uses, health and wellness, research, educational programming, and the local economy through eco-tourism. The BCCPP board is composed of members with expertise in the areas of support it wishes to provide to the Preserve.
This nature preserve, which is part of the State of Alabama’s Forever Wild properties, has been set apart through a partnership with the State Lands Division, the City of Springville, and the St. Clair County Commission. In addition, there have been partners collaborating and giving time and funding throughout the project’s history, including the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Freshwater Land Trust, Big Canoe Creek Preserve Partners, the St. Clair County Economic Development Council, Homestead Hollow, and Friends of Big Canoe Creek.
“The St. Clair County Commission is always willing to collaborate with our cities on projects that advance tourism and economic development throughout St. Clair County,” St. Clair County Commission Chairman Paul Manning said. “This is not just a Springville project, this is a project that will reach far beyond our borders and make way for outdoor experiences for many years to come. Creating green space and areas where our community can enjoy being outside, like our county’s arena in Odenville and boat launch on Neely Henry Lake, improve the quality of life for all of our residents.”
For updates and information about Big Canoe Creek Preserve, visit the City of Springville’s website under Parks and Recreation.