As we reported earlier in the year, the Land Trust of North Alabama now manages more than 10,000 acres of land, a threshold met largely in part to nearly 700 acres of land donated by one North Alabama family.
Jim and Faye Lacefield donated the land in Colbert County that has become Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve, a beautiful stretch of nature that you simply have to experience.
The Lacefields + Cane Creek Canyon
Over the past 40 years, the Lacefields preserved the property southwest of Tuscumbia, created nearly 18 miles of hiking trails, cared for the land and welcomed visitors to explore or study there.
Cane Creek Canyon’s topography and dramatic falls provide a diverse ecological area supporting significant biodiversity and cultural history — as well as recreational and educational opportunities. So how did the Lacefields hook up with the Land Trust?
Land Trust board chair and volunteer Mike Dalen said the Lacefields initially contacted the Land Trust about 20 years ago about taking over management of the property. However, Dalen said at the time the Land Trust just did not have the capacity to take on a project like Cane Creek.
“I toured the property and was utterly amazed at the plants, water, caves and rock shelters. However, at the time the Land Trust was too small an operation to take on a project that big.”Mike Dalen, Land Trust of North Alabama
So the Lacefields got in touch with The Nature Conservancy of Alabama and put together a conservation easement, where even if the land sold it would always be preserved.
According to Dalen, about three years ago the Lacefields and the Nature Conservancy had a falling out. That’s where the Land Trust stepped in and developed a transfer plan, and now Land Trust employees operate the Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve every weekend.
New territory for the Land Trust of North Alabama
Although the Land Trust manages more than 10,000 acres in North Alabama, the organization did not have a presence in the Quad Cities area, Dalen said.
Hence, the acquisition of Cane Creek expanded the Land Trust’s footprint in the state.
“This acquisition is important to the Land Trust because it provides a fantastic recreational property in northwest Alabama where we did not have a presence. Hundreds of people visit Cane Creek every year and many of them are friends of the Lacefields. We now have a presence and rabid supporters in Colbert County.”Mike Dalen, Land Trust of North Alabama
Dalen added that the Land Trust hopes to open an office in the Quad Cities and accelerate land preservation efforts in that part of Alabama.
‘Walking the Walk’
A discussion about this beautiful preserve always comes back to the Lacefields. Dalen said the determination and dedication (and obvious generosity) Jim and Faye have exhibited in making sure these 700 acres of North Alabama beauty remain preserved is unmatched.
“Jim and Faye Lacefield are the real deal.They worked with the Land Trust because we proved to them they could trust us to continue their legacy — keeping a national-park-calibre landscape preserved forever for the public to enjoy.”Mike Dalen, Land Trust of North Alabama
Dalen added, “They walk the walk in every aspect of their lives.”
Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve is located at 251 Loop Rd, Tuscumbia, AL 35674 and is open to the public each weekend (Friday – Sunday from 7 AM – 5 PM).
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