Forever Wild Opens New Horse Trail in the Freedom Hills WMA
The Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust has recently opened a new horse trail in the Freedom Hills Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in Colbert County, 5 miles south of Highway 72 near Barton and Cherokee, Ala. The Freedom Hills trail opened March 1, but will close temporarily during the spring turkey season and fall hunting seasons. The new horse trail expands the number of public horse riding trails on Forever Wild lands to five.
The 15-mile trail system offers diverse landscapes and conditions for trail riding. Riders have the option of the 6.5-mile main loop that begins and ends at the trailhead parking area located off of County Road 33, near the community of Newsome Springs, and three additional loops that extend from the main trail and provide riders with alternate durations of the riding experience.
According to Sandy Pegram, Trails Chairman with the Alabama Horse Council, the development of the Freedom Hills horse trails is not only a plus for horse enthusiasts, but will also provide an economic and tourism boost to the state. “With horse activities generating $2.4 billion annually in Alabama, this recent project is just another step in providing more recreational areas for our equine enthusiasts and we applaud ADCNR's staff and efforts in this behalf,” Pegram said.
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) staff utilized existing woods roads that were closed to vehicle traffic outside of the normal hunting seasons and connecting trails to develop a 15-mile trail at Freedom Hills. While the initial trail work was performed by the ADCNR staff, this project is intended to follow other successful recreational ventures utilizing volunteers to maintain the existing trails. These efforts have capitalized on the membership of the Alabama Horse Counsel and other local clubs who support horse back riding.
Barnett Lawley, ADCNR Commissioner and Chairman of the Forever Wild Board of Trustees, believes horse trails like those at the Freedom Hills and the Walls of Jericho offer recreational opportunities that are a valued benefit to the public and the communities where they are located. “The multi-purpose nature of Forever Wild lands offers the public a wide variety of recreational options.” Lawley said. “Projects such as these new horse trails help Alabamians experience our rich natural diversity first hand from the unique perspective of horseback.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com