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Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve is becoming a reality in Springville, with the approval of Macknally Land Design to assist in designing and creating a master plan for the preserve. Photo submitted

The future of the Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve continues to take shape in Springville.

On Monday, the Springville City Council voted to accept a proposal from Macknally Land Design, a design group with an impressive resume, to assist in designing and creating a Master Plan for the Preserve. Macknally Land Design’s previous projects include Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama National Cemetery, RailRoad Park in Birmingham and several municipal parks. The Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve is making strides to be a first-class nature preserve and destination for all who love and enjoy nature in Springville and surround areas.

The Nature Preserve is located adjacent to Homestead Hollow and has been almost a decade in the making. Doug Morrison, President of the Friends of Big Canoe Creek, a 501c(3) non-profit organization, has spearheaded the effort to preserve the creek and lands around Springville’s Big Canoe Creek since 2008.

After a vote by the Forever Wild Board in June 2018, the 422 acres that currently make up the Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve became part of the State of Alabama’s Forever Wild Program. Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust was formed by a state constitutional amendment in 1992. The Forever Wild Land Trust has secured more than 268,000 acres for public use as preservation areas, including the Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve.

Most of the funding for the Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve has been provided through grants, St. Clair County funding and City of Springville funding, along with grassroots fundraising through the Friends of Big Canoe Creek. To make the Preserve a reality, The St. Clair County Commission approved $150,000 toward the project, the City of Springville $100,000 and the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust contributed more than $1 million to secure the property, which will serve as a nature preserve, providing outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, bird watching and outdoor educational opportunities. The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham also awarded the Preserve a $25,000 grant for the design and implementation of the gate, entrance road and parking area.

The Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve has been an effort by many groups that have tirelessly devoted many hours and dollars to its promise. The Friends of Canoe Creek, along with the St. Clair County Commission, St. Clair County Economic Development Council, the City of Springville and scores of volunteers, have begun to see the Preserve materialize after a long awaited vision.

Last month, the City of Springville Parks and Recreation Board voted unanimously to approve the creation of a Steering Committee for the Big Canoe Creek Nature Preserve to guide the plans. The Steering Committee will consist of the following members: Doug Morrison (Chair), Candice Hill, Dean Goforth, Vickey Wheeler, Sean Andrews and Henry Hughes. These members each bring a unique experience and passion to help make the Preserve a lasting legacy and inheritance for Springville and Alabama.

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