Appalachian Highlands Birding Trail Launch


The Appalachian Highlands Birding Trail (AHBT) will be launched on International Migratory Bird Day, May 12, 2012. The Jacksonville State University Environmental Policy and Information Center (EPIC) and the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce will host the ceremony which will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Little River Canyon Center in Fort Payne, AL.

The AHBT includes six gateway sites, forty birding sites and connects the North Alabama Birding Trail to the Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail. The Alabama Birding Trail offers a professionally developed birding trail system which includes directional signage, interpretive panels, kiosks, walking trails, observation towers, visitor guides and maps.

Gateway sites provide knowledge and direction to visitors through expertise, interpretation and educational support. For this trail they will be established at the Little River Canyon Center, Talladega Mountains Natural Resource Center, Anniston Museum of Natural History, Oak Mountain Interpretive Center, Ruffner Mountain Interpretive Center, and Cheaha State Park. These facilities will present programs and activities that can be enjoyed by both avid birders and the amateur naturalists seeking an outdoor weekend getaway.

According to EPIC Director Pete Conroy “Bird watching represents a significant portion of eco-tourism and tourism is one our nation’s most sustainable tools for economic development,” He continued, “literally billions of dollars can be traced to people who travel and vacation for wildlife observation, so there’s no doubt that this birding trail will promote our region and draw dollars to our region.”

The AHBT meanders through nine Northeast Alabama counties that include Cherokee, Calhoun, Cleburne, Etowah, Talladega, Shelby, Blount, Jefferson, and St. Clair. A goal of the project is to create environmental awareness and birding opportunities “from the deepest canyon to the highest mountain” in Alabama.

“Alabama is a birding paradise,” says birding trail committee member and JSU Field School Coordinator Renee Morrison. “Forests, mountains, meadows, swamps, and beaches dot the landscape, creating an abundance of avian habitats with over 400 species of bird that all grace the blue skies over Alabama,” Morrison says.

Eager to have the trail established, Morrison exclaimed, “Get ready to grab your binoculars, brush up on your birding skills, and wing it to Alabama’s newest birding trail: it's for the birds!”

Little River Canyon Center
Start date: 
Sunday, January 1, 2006 - 00:00
End date: 
Sunday, January 1, 2006 - 01:00