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Dugger Mountain Path.
Photo by Francine Hutchinson
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A Project of Jacksonville State University's
Environmental Policy & Information Center

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History Of Dugger Mountain
Dugger Mountain was named for Civil War veteran, J. Taylor Dugger who staked a  homestead claim on a sizable portion of the lowlands and northern slopes. It was here that he did something probably unprecedented in the south at that time – he set aside the steep slopes of his land as a wildlife refuge. The conservationist farmer met with opposition to his actions, sometimes in the form of attempted ambushes. However, local stories relate that he owned and operated a mule drawn, steam powered threshing machine that he used to help his neighbors with their harvests. Evidently, local people were impressed with the results of Dugger’s efforts and renamed the mountain in his honor.

The U.S Forest Service has managed Dugger Mountain as a wilderness study area since 1986. Dugger Mountain, the second highest peak in Alabama, is a popular site for camping, hiking, hunting, fishing and horseback riding. The Wilderness is home to more than 900 species of animals and includes 7.7 miles of the Pinhoti hiking trail.

In the summer of 1999, Representative Bob Riley, R-Ashland, Alabama and Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, Alabama finalized plans to introduce legislation that would make Dugger Mountain a National Wilderness Area. On December 9, 1999 President Clinton signed the bill designating Dugger Mountain as a National Wilderness Area.

historic photo
James B. Dugger Jr., Jacob Taylor 
Dugger (in center), & John Dugger. 
From the photo collection of 
Francine Hutchinson.
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In late November of 1999, just after his bill was approved Riley stated,  "We really got involved about one and a half years ago when Pete Conroy came up and explained the Dugger Mountain Wilderness proposal introduced by Congressmen Nichols and Browder."  Instrumental to the designation's success was Bruce and Francine Hutchinson, who conducted years of research, recording the flora and fauna of the region.

As a designated wilderness area, commercial logging, cattle grazing, mining, permanent road construction, and all vehicle (including all terrain vehicles) usage will be prohibited within the 9,200 acre Dugger Mountain boundary. In addition, all roads running through Dugger Mountain will be closed in an effort to restore the land to its pristine natural state. "My legislation will ensure that Dugger Mountain Wilderness Area remains one of Alabama's natural treasures for generations to come," Representative Riley said.


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Environmental Policy & Information Center 
Jacksonville State University 
700 Pelham Road North 
Suite 246 Martin Hall 
Jacksonville, AL 36265 
(256) 782-5681
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Last Updated: October 14, 2003