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Forestland Preserved on Monte Sano

July 20, 2023
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Land Trust of North Alabama has received a donation from See Forever Development Partners of 5.61 acres adjacent to Bankhead Parkway on west Monte Sano. This addition will expand Monte Sano Nature Preserve and maintain popular trail connections.

Map shows land donation expanding the Land Trust’s Monte Sano Nature Preserve

“We are beyond thrilled to finalize the first of two donations to the Land Trust of North Alabama,” said Ben F Jackson, IV, Chief Operating Officer, See Forever Development Partners. “These donations have been a vision of our development from the beginning. As with other developments I have done, there is always a giveback component involved. We feel that these land donations will greatly enhance the connectivity of the Land Trust’s multi-use trail system.”

Land Trust’s Trailhead entrance on Bankhead Parkway

The Land Trust’s Monte Sano Nature Preserve is one of the largest urban land preserves in the United States. Over 1100 acres, this natural escape features more than 22 miles of free public trails for hiking, biking, and outdoor recreation. Land Trust trails on Monte Sano also connect to trail networks managed by Monte Sano State Park and Burritt on the Mountain. Together, the mountain showcases the importance of conservation and offers a unique and significant outdoor recreation destination only two miles from downtown Huntsville.

Hikers enjoy trails at Monte Sano Nature Preserve (credit: Jim Teed)

Opportunities for conservation in this area are becoming increasingly limited as the community grows, while demand for outdoor recreation spaces also increases. This piece of undeveloped forest is located just above the Land Trust’s Bankhead Trailhead parking lot and fills a gap in Monte Sano Nature Preserve. The property includes a segment of Tollgate and Dummy Line Trails, which have been used for many years by hikers and bikers visiting the preserve. However, an undisturbed trail connection was not guaranteed until now. Marie Bostick, Land Trust of North Alabama Executive Director said “This land has long been identified as a missing piece of the preserve. We appreciate See Forever Development Partners for working with us to ensure this land and the trail network are forever protected.”

The Land Trust recently announced a fundraising effort to create a paved, multi-use greenway on Monte Sano. The proposed route follows a portion of Tollgate Trail, including a section that crosses this newly preserved property. The planned greenway will extend from the Land Trust’s Bankhead Trailhead to the old Bankhead Parkway within Monte Sano State Park. In addition to providing pedestrians and bikers a safe, scenic route to travel, this new path will offer access to nature for people with limited mobility who cannot use natural hiking trails. The City of Huntsville has pledged $500,000 for the project, but another $500,000 is needed to make it a reality. 

Find information about Monte Sano Nature Preserve, including a trail map and hike recommendations, here.