We’re very pleased to announce the Land Trust of North Alabama has received a $20,000 Restoration and Resilience Grant from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), with major funding support from Toyota Motor North America. These funds will support the restoration of Bluffline Trail on Monte Sano Nature Preserve.
In 2016, Alabama experienced a severe and prolonged drought. The damage, although not immediately obvious, emerged as normal precipitation levels returned. This damage includes a significant number of weakened, dead, or dying trees, which has resulted in significant deadfall across all Land Trust of North Alabama nature preserves. Monte Sano Nature Preserve’s 2.3 mile Bluffline Trail has been impacted especially hard. Rain and winds following the drought uprooted many of the weakened trees within the trail corridor and many more, still standing, are at high risk of falling in subsequent storms. Erosion on this high traffic trail was already a concern but has progressed more dramatically with loss of trees and vegetation to reinforce the soil. In fact, erosion has rendered parts of Bluffline Trail unusable for many recreationalists (particularly in steep and rocky sections).
The goal of the Bluffline Trail restoration project will be to return this vital corridor to a functional condition, allowing users to once again easily access the larger trail system on the Monte Sano Nature Preserve. Throughout this project, the Land Trust of North Alabama plans to utilize sustainable trail building methods to ensure environmental changes and heavy use will not continue to negatively impact trail conditions. These best practices will make it easier for volunteers and Land Trust staff to manage future maintenance.
“Beyond repairing damage to this popular trail, the support we receive from the NEEF grant will provide the tools and training our staff, volunteers, and partners need to implement similar projects across all Land Trust nature preserves and other trail systems in our area,” said Marie Bostick, Land Trust of North Alabama Executive Director.
The Bluff Line Trail restoration will serve as a working example of how to renovate and build trails in a purposeful and sustainable way using key community partnerships. Our volunteers and partners will be equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to apply the same techniques when building or renovating trails around North Alabama.
The Restoration and Resilience Grants were developed to support non-profit organizations conducting response efforts on public lands recently impacted by natural disasters. This is one of ten grants, totaling $200,000, that were awarded.
“These grants are part of a sustained effort, which kicked off on National Public Lands Day this year, to restore and fortify public lands affected by natural disasters and extreme weather,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, CEO and president of NEEF.
NEEF awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. For over twenty years, NEEF has partnered with Toyota to provide a variety of grants and awards to support national and regional environmental preservation projects. Read more about the NEEF/Toyota Restoration & Resilience grant program here.
Want to help with this project or other trail care needs? Join our team of trail care volunteers to help build trails, clear deadfall, and reroute for safety under the direction of our Land Stewards. At least once a month we have a scheduled work day on one of our properties. No is experience required. Bug spray, sunscreen, and sturdy, closed-toe shoes recommended. Find upcoming trail care events and sign up to lend a hand here.
About National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF): NEEF’s vision is that by 2022, 300 million people living in the U.S. actively use environmental knowledge to ensure the wellbeing of the earth and its people. To achieve its vision, NEEF offers science-based, unbiased information through its own communications platforms, as well as a network of trusted professionals and affinity communities that, with their relationships and credibility, amplify environmental messages to national audiences. Learn more at NEEFusa.org—or follow NEEF on Facebook and Twitter.