The National Forests of Alabama 

The National Forests of Alabama are considered one of its most valuable national treasures, and overall, there are four of them.

These national habitats cover an estimated 667,000 publicly owned acres of land and are located in more than 17 different counties in this historic state.

These nationally protected lands are the home to some 900 plus different species, that cannot be found in most any other places.

This includes rare birds, numerous reptiles, different mammals, as well as unique fish.

It also includes endangered species like the gopher tortoise, the red-cockaded woodpecker, as well as numerous insects and invertebrate creatures.

These national treasures are extremely important outlets for the public and include all kids of recreation.

This includes fishing, hiking, swimming, boating, camping for you and your family, as well as hunting, one of states favorite activities.

The History of the National Forests of Alabama

Small Waterfall in the National ForestsSmall Waterfall in the National Forests

The National Forests of Alabama are run and managed by the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of the Department of Agriculture.

In the year 1891, Congress passed the Forest Reserve Act, which gave the president the right to proclaim forest reserves on publicly owned land.

This did not affect the lands in the east as they were mostly privately owned, however clear-cutting of watershed areas changed all that.

This was producing major flooding, and Congress made the decision to pass the “Weeks Act,” and this has done wonders for these lands.

It provided for the purchase of numerous forested, cutover, or flooded lands, and try to save them.

During this time frame, the federal government owned thousands of acres in Alabama, most all that had been obtained from treaties with Indian tribes.

While a lot of this land was originally homesteads, the U.S. Forest Service was able to purchase and reclaim these lands, and the process began.

The Civilian Conservation Corps went to work, and begin to build roads, dams, as well as trails, and planted trees, a lot of trees.

Today, it is estimated that a whopping 700,000 visitors a day enjoy these national resources and are amazed at their beauty.

The National Forests of Alabama

Talladega National ForestTalladega National Forest

There are four National Forests of Alabama, and collectively they reflect the diverse geography of the state.

They range from the Cumberland Plateau in the northern part of the state, to the East Gulf Coastal Plain in the southern part.

The main purpose of these lands was for commercial and public use, but for the most part, that has changed back to public use.

Again, this includes not only the use of recreation, but soil conservation, range timber, watershed, wildlife, fishing, as well as mining in some cases.

The First Two National Forests of Alabama

Gentle Springs in the National Forests of AlabamaGentle Springs in the National Forests of Alabama

Here are the first 2 of the National Forests of Alabama:

  • Bankhead National Forest
  • Talladega National Forest

 Bankhead National Forest

The first of National Forests of Alabama in the Bankhead, and this beautiful site lies in the Cumberland Plateau.

The topography there consists of high bluffs, sloping ridges, waterfalls, as well as very steep gorges and stream bottoms.

It rests in old-grown hardwoods that include oak, maple, beech, and black gums tress.

This environment of streams and rivers also provides an excellent habitat of both animal and plants.

It was set aside as an Alabama Purchase Unit in 1918 and was originally named the Alabama National.

It was renamed in 1942 in honor of Willima B. Bankhead, a U.S. congressman from 1917 to 1940.

It is located in the northwestern part of the state and sets on a whopping 198,000 plus acres.

There are 5 different recreational areas for you and your family to enjoy, as well as hiking and horseback trails.

Talladega National Forest

The Talladega National Forest is next, and this land was purchased in 1936 as an effort to restore the cleared timberlands and farmlands.

This beautiful site is divided into over 375,000 acres and three ranger districts: the Okmulgee, Shoal Creek, and Talladega.

Located in the west-central part of the state, it sets on the East Gulf Coastal Plain, with mild sloping ridges and broad floodplains.

The Shoal Creek and Talladega districts are located in the northeastern part of the state, in 5 different counties.

The beautiful Pinhoti National Trail system runs a whopping 102 miles through this gorgeous forest, as well as the 29-mile Talladega Scenic Drive, the highest access point in the state.

The Second Two National Forests of Alabama

Swamps in the National ForestsSwamps in the National Forests

The next 2 Two National Forests of Alabama are the following:

  • Conecuh National Forest
  • Tuskegee National Forest

Conecuh National Forest

The Conecuh National Forest leads this list, and it is the nation’s southernmost national forest, established in 1936.

It covers over 83,000 acres along the Alabama-Florid line and sets along the East Gulf Coastal Plain.

It has level gradually sloping stream terraces and was established in 1930.

Auburn University as well as other institutions help to restore the gopher tortoises located here, and the 20-mile Conecuh Trail is located there.

The area is covered with moss-covered Cyprus trees, swamps, winding creeks, as well as hardwood bottomlands.

It also has 23 species of carnivorous plants, more than any other place in the world.  

 Tuskegee National Forest

The Tuskegee National Forest is the last of the National Forests of Alabama, and it is the smallest at 11,000 acres.

Designated in 1959, it sets in the east-central part of the state, and it also has some amazing sites for you and your family to visit.

The historic Bartram Trail runs through it, and there is a replica of the Booker T. Washington log cabin home located there.

These natural wonders are here for you and your family to enjoy, please just leave them as you found them.


Related Pages

The Bankhead National Forest

The Bankhead National Forest is one of the state’s oldest forests, and this natural beauty sets in the center of the Cumberland Plateau.

Continue Reading About the Bankhead National Forest

The Conecuh National Forest

The Conecuh National Forest is the state’s southernmost beauty, and it covers over 84,000 areas.

Continue Reading About the Conecuh National Forest

The Talladega National Forest

The Talladega National Forest is one of the four forests in the state, and it is one the largest.

Continue Reading About the Talladega National Forest

The Tuskegee National Forest

The Tuskegee National Forest is the smallest reserve not only in the state, but in the entire nation

Continue Reading About the Tuskegee National Forest

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