Property Exchange at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, a Win-Win Solution for Nature Education and Conservation


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Turkey Creek – photo by Pat Byington, Bham Now

The land at the entrance to Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, the ‘gateway’ to the popular recreation area, now belongs to the Town of Pinson, thanks to a win-win land swap with the Freshwater Land Trust .

What happened

Birmingham Alabama
Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

Last week, Freshwater Land Trust (FLT) and the Town of Pinson, in partnership with the Southern Environmental Center at Birmingham-Southern College, finalized a property swap involving the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve (TCNP), located within the boundaries of the town of Pinson.

The exchange

Freshwater Land Trust donated 28 acres of property in Turkey Creek Nature Preserve to the Town of Pinson. In exchange, the Land Trust received from the Town of Pinson the 34-acre “Dry Creek” property off Sweeney Hollow Road.

Why it matters

Birmingham Alabama
Turkey Creek Nature Reserve. Photo by Pat Byington

For more than two years, the Southern Environmental Center, which operates the TCNP, proposed and raised funds to build a multi-use lodge within the reserve on the Freshwater Land Trust property.

This is an excellent project as use of the new facility will help fund the TCNP center and nature education programs.

There was a problem.

The Freshwater Land Trust, which fully supports these efforts, was not equipped to take on the responsibilities that would result from leasing the lodge.

It was then that the town of Pinson intensified.

Pinson, which was already a major financial support for the nature education center, has every interest in ensuring the sustainability and success of the pavilion, the education center and the management of the TCNP. The City is also well positioned to provide the necessary surveillance and security as the lodge is used as a rental facility.

During this time...

In 2019, the Town of Pinson acquired the 34-acre undeveloped lowland floodplain property off Sweeney Hollow Road to serve as a flood mitigation property and prevent future development that would increase the risk of flooding. flood. In addition to this land, the Land Trust has retained over 400 additional acres in the town and watershed of Turkey Creek.

Land swap supports each group’s mission

Birmingham, Alabama, Red Rock Trail System, Freshwater Land Trust, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve
Turkey stream. Photo via Instagram from Freshwater Land Trust

In a press release, Rusha Smith, executive director of Freshwater Land Trust, further explained the exchange.

“This exchange of ownership makes perfect sense for everyone. The city, working with the Southern Environmental Center, can provide the best resources needed for the TCNP pavilion, and the Freshwater Land Trust can expand its land and water protection efforts in and around Turkey Creek.

Pinson’s newly elected mayor, Joe Cochran, added.

“I am delighted with the continued partnership between the Freshwater Land Trust and the Town of Pinson,” said “These relationships have helped make Pinson and Turkey Creek Nature Reserve a destination for families across Alabama and the United States. country.”

Learn more about the Freshwater Land Trust

Red Mountain Park
Aerial view of Red Mountain Park, Birmingham’s largest public nature reserve spanning over 1,500 acres. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

If you’re not familiar with the Freshwater Land Trust, it’s one of the most influential land trusts in Alabama and the Southeast. In addition to conserving 7,500 acres in central Alabama, the land trust has helped create three iconic nature reserves and a trail system.

Freshwater Land Trust
Bernie Kuhajda & Eric Spadgenske upstream of the old dam site – photo courtesy of Freshwater Land Trust

The Freshwater Land Trust also protects the land through conservation easements.

“A lot of what we do has an impact on the public, but it’s not always open to the public. It’s the small land conservation efforts through generous donations from landowners who place conservation easements on their property that help replenish conservation values ​​across County and Central Alabama that benefit the protection of the habitat of water quality for the greater good in perpetuity. – Liz Sims, Director of Land Conservation at the Freshwater Land Trust.

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