Since 1990, the Weeks Bay Foundation has been working to protect land throughout coastal Alabama and educate the community about the importance of these habitats. Through our outreach activities, it became apparent that we were missing one key connection – public access on the lands we protect. We believe that people will be more likely to protect something they understand and more likely to understand something if they experience it first hand.
From this core belief came the idea for two preserves that would allow the community to engage directly with the lands we protect. Visitors will be able to walk the trails, see the flowers blooming, hear the birds singing, dip their toes in the creek, and feel a deeper connection with these conservation areas. Thus, we started down the journey to create the Rio Vista and Rangeline Preserves.
Rio Vista is located on Fish River, less than a mile south of the Bohemian Park kayak launch. With over 2,000 feet of river frontage, it is the perfect location for a paddle-accessible preserve that focuses on watershed health. Educational signage on this property will talk about how land use affects our rivers and bays.
Before the Weeks Bay Foundation was able to purchase Rio Vista, it was timbered and restoration on this land include invasive plant control and native plantings.
Rangeline is on the west side of Mobile Bay, in Theodore, along a tributary to the Deer Fork River. The 70-acre Rangeline property was once slated to be a subdivision but was transferred to the Foundation in 2014. The property is thickly wooded with stunted pine trees and numerous invasive plants along the creek banks. Restoration here includes invasive plant control and thinning of the understory and canopy. In the pockets of sunshine within Rangeline, pitcher plants can be seen struggling to survive. With the thinning, forestry mowing, and controlled burning, we expect to see a vibrant population of carnivorous plants.
Restoration Efforts continue to improve the tracts. As part of the creation of these two preserves, the Foundation wanted to ensure that the community was involved in the process. The “I Restored…” Campaign was developed to encourage volunteers to feel a personal sense of investment in the projects and their success. In the first year of work, the projects have had nearly 100 different community members help with invasive plant removal, native planting, and canopy thinning.
Partners: The Weeks Bay Foundation has been lucky enough to receive funding from various partners throughout the area to start the restoration of these properties. We would like to thank the following supporters of the Rio Vista and Rangeline Preserves
EPA Gulf Of Mexico Program
Baldwin County Sewer Service
Getting Involved: Be part of the “I Restored…” Team! Bring your school, church, business, or civic organization out for a day of service. You can coordinate with us by calling 251-990-5004.
Foster the Forest: If you, or your company, are interested in being a monetary support of this public access effort, please give us a call (251-990-5004) and your contribution can go directly to the Rio Vista and Rangeline projects!