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Building a Nature Preserve at Hickory Cove

April 19, 2024
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Since the opening of Hickory Cove Nature Preserve in spring 2023, staff and volunteers have been working to assess and modify the existing Legacy Loop Trail to ensure it offers the experience visitors have come to expect at a Land Trust nature preserve.

Volunteers work on trail reroute around the springhouse area.

The most obvious change for visitors will be the relocation of the north trail entrance and a small trail reroute in that area. In an effort to protect the integrity of natural and historic features, the trail reroute was completed to prevent damage and erosion around the historic springhouse by redirecting foot traffic away from the structure. Not far beyond the start of Legacy Loop, visitors will now find a new connector trail that provides direct access to view the springhouse and water trough, which remain from the former homesite that existed in the cove. We are continuing to gather historical information about the location and hope to share more of the story of the land. Future plans for this area of the preserve include an observational boardwalk that will allow visitors to view and learn about these historic structures while minimizing any negative impact.

A new large information kiosk greets visitors at the north trail entrance.

Following the trail reroute, a new, larger information kiosk was installed at the primary entrance, which includes a tool storage space for our volunteers working on trail maintenance projects. A smaller kiosk was added at the south entrance. These spaces provide important information for visitors such as a trail map, rules, and seasonal hiking tips. Trail signage was also added to ensure easy navigation throughout Legacy Loop. Thank you to Representative Rex Reynolds and the Madison County Legislative Delegation for providing the funding for these improvements and to Leadership Greater Huntsville for their volunteer support.

A short connector trail now takes you to the spring house site from the Legacy Loop Trail.

Trail improvements will continue throughout the year and our Land Stewards are already scouting for potential future trails to showcase the beauty and diversity of this preserve.

All of our trail projects rely heavily on support from volunteers.

Find upcoming work days on our event calendar and sign up to help at Plan your visit with free downloadable trail map and hiking tips at