In 1994 the Forest Service purchased a 69 acre tract of land from the Alabama Nature Conservancy, who had acquired it earlier because it contained a charging area for the cave known to be the habitat for the Indiana Gray Bat, an endangered species. Multiple use goals have been established for the area including special protective measures for the cave. On 32 acres of the upland sandhill ecosystem 28,000 longleaf pine will be planted while another 32 acres will remain in upland hardwoods. The acreage of longleaf pine ecosystem has been in serious decline, resulting in decreases in associated species such as the gopher tortoise. In turn, the threatened Eastern indigo snake depends on gopher tortoise burrows for food and shelter. Restoring longleaf pine along with prescribed burning as a management tool will benefit these species. Partnership with a local junior college and an elementary school will enhance their educational experience as they use the area as a 'hands-on' outdoor classroom.
This project was supported by our corporate partner, the Alcoa Foundation.
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