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Press Release

Governor Riley Scheduled to Dedicate Walls of Jericho April 23

April 15, 2005

Governor Bob Riley is scheduled to formally dedicate the Walls of Jericho land tract at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 near Hytop off Highway 79. The governor will be joined by representatives from the Forever Wild Land Trust, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy. The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which will be held at the hiking trail parking lot.

The Walls of Jericho was purchased by Forever Wild and opened to the public in 2004. Since opening, the property has become a favorite of hikers, horseback riders, bird watchers and photographers. Because it is so scenic, the site attracts tourists from surrounding states and has been featured in magazines and newspapers across the southeast.

Alabama is blessed with beautiful natural resources from the mountains in the north to the Gulf Coast,” Governor Riley said.  “By preserving lands, such as the Walls of Jericho, we ensure that future generations will be able to experience and enjoy our state’s unique natural qualities.”

The land is managed by the State Lands and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Divisions of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The tract is adjacent to the Skyline Wildlife Management Area.

According to State Lands Assistant Division Director Greg Lein, the popularity of the site is at the heart of what Forever Wild is all about. “This land is forever protected for the people of Alabama to experience and enjoy,” he said.

Forever Wild land now totals 107,000 acres since the program acquired its first tract in 1994. The land is used for wildlife management areas for public hunting, nature preserves, additions to state parks and outdoor recreational areas. More than 100,000 acres of the total Forever Wild land is available for public hunting.

The Walls of Jericho tract consists of 12,510 acres in Jackson County that border the state of Tennessee. It is comprised of mountainous and wooded terrain, hosting caves, springs, rocky bluffs and portions of the headwaters of the Paint Rock River. It was named the Walls of Jericho because the area encompasses a large bowl-shaped canyon of rock.

After the dedication ceremony, the public is invited to hike the trail, which is about 2.5 miles long one way. The hike in is mostly downhill, which means the hike back up is quite strenuous. Visitors are encouraged to wear proper shoes and bring water for the outing.

To reach the Walls of Jericho, take Highway 79 north and go just past the community of Hytop.