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Surrounding Gov. Kay Ivey: AFC Protection Division Director John Goff, USDA Forest Service Forest Acting Supervisor Lee Madson, AFC State Forester Rick Oates, USDA Forest Service Forest Supervisor Cherie Hamilton, and ADCNR Commissioner Chris Blankenship. Photo by Hal Yeager, Office of the Governor
Special to the News
A Governance Board consisting of the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the USDA Forest Service has been established to provide collaborative leadership in developing, restoring and maintaining the Alabama section of the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail as a sustainable outdoor recreation resource.
On Tuesday, Gov. Kay Ivey was joined by Alabama State Forester Rick Oates, ADCNR Commissioner Chris Blankenship and Alabama’s USDA Forest Service Supervisor Cherie Hamilton to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Shared Stewardship which allows the three agencies to work together to provide a framework for coordination with stakeholders, volunteers and partners, conveying the shared leaders’ intent among the parties for the sustainability of the Pinhoti Trail in Alabama. “Shared Stewardship” provides a collaborative approach to federal land management that emphasizes partnership with states and other groups to identify joint priorities and develop cross-boundary strategies that make an impact at the correct scale.
“In Alabama, we recognize the vital importance of protecting our state’s natural beauty and maximizing opportunities for residents and visitors alike to get outdoors and experience it for themselves,” said Ivey. “The Pinhoti Trail is a major asset to outdoor recreation-based tourism in Alabama, and restoration and maintenance of this trail is a team effort. I’m proud to move forward with this shared stewardship approach by partnering with the Alabama Forestry Commission, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, the Alabama Trails Commission, and the Alabama Trails Foundation. Together, we can ensure that our state remains Alabama the beautiful for generations to come.”
The Alabama section of the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail consists of an approximate 170-mile hiking route along the Talladega Mountain range that includes the Talladega National Forest with the southern terminus at Flagg Mountain in Coosa County, extending across six counties throughout east Alabama to the Georgia border.
Additional routes and trails connect to the “core” Pinhoti providing access to towns and points of interest – these are all considered part of the Pinhoti Trail System. The development of the Alabama Pinhoti Trail began in the 1970s with a key portion in the Talladega National Forest being designated as an official National Recreation Trail in 1977.