Scenic. Historic. These words describe the 466-acre Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.
However, if not for the Land Trust and a number of other partners, the Nature Preserve may not exist as it does today.
The Preserve is an outstanding example of a private initiative to protect endangered species. At Turkey Creek, the Land Trust worked for two years to combine approximately $1.5 million from the Jefferson County Greenways Program with $750,000 in private landowner contributions to secure support from the Alabama Forever Wild Program, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Jefferson County and others to help establish the 700-acre Turkey Creek Nature Preserve and Greenways.
Turkey Creek flows through the northeast Jefferson County community of Pinson. It is home to the Watercress and Vermilion darters, two extraordinary fish currently listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The Falls on Turkey Creek have been used for picnicking and recreation since the 1870s. But for all its beauty and history, Turkey Creek was almost lost-until the Land Trust stepped in.
Jefferson County proposes building a prison at Turkey Creek, setting off a controversy. The people of Pinson form the Society To Advance the Resources at Turkey Creek (START) and quickly gain 7,000 members. START nominates the prison site to the State’s Forever Wild Land Trust, but the Forever Wild Board turns down the offer to avoid the growing prison controversy.
Jefferson County abandons the proposed prison, and County Commissioner Bettye Fine Collins forms the Turkey Creek Watershed Development Committee. The Committee envisions a nature preserve of approximately 630 acres.
The Turkey Creek Watershed Development Committee re-nominates the Nature Preserve site to Forever Wild where it scores highly as a state nature preserve. However, the project proves too complicated with multiple landowners, and fails to move forward.