Little River Canyon National Preserve will celebrate 20 years as a National Park Unit on October 21.
Little River Canyon National Preserve was established by an act of Congress on October 21, 1992. The legislation recognizes the rugged and beautiful scenery, unique natural and cultural resources, and the many recreational opportunities found there.
Little River Canyon National Preserve’s boundary encompasses former Alabama Power Company property, DeSoto State Park, Little River State Wildlife Management Area, the Canyon, and Canyon Mouth Day Use Area.
The National Park Service partners with Jacksonville State University, which operates the Canyon Center; the Alabama Department Conservation and Natural Resources, which oversees hunting, fishing, and operation of DeSoto State Park; and Fisher Rescue, which provides rescue services to park.
“Two decades ago, Alabama Power transferred 8,580 acres to the National Park System to help preserve and share the natural wonders of Little River Canyon with our state,” said Matt Bowden, Alabama Power vice president of Environmental Affairs. “Today, the scenery, outdoor appeal and environmental education opportunities unique to the Little River Canyon National Preserve continue to draw visitors from across the nation to this special place.”
“Jacksonville State University is proud to have the National Park Service and the Alabama Power Company as partners in conservation and education,” stated Pete Conroy, director of the JSU Environmental Policy and Information Center. The progress we have made wouldn’t have been possible without the public–private partnerships and the local community.”
The National Park Service and JSU’s Canyon Center are coordinating special programs and activities for the public at the center beginning at 1 p.m. on October 21:
- 1-2 p.m. Children’s activities will include a clay art table, and historic Native American games.
- 2-3 p.m. Officials and speakers will recall the history and how Little River Canyon National Preserve was created.
- 3-4 p.m. Agency representatives will dedicate the falls accessible boardwalk, Highway 35 Bridge and new center entrance drive. Refreshments will be served after the dedication.
“The National Park Service has accomplished many improvements in the park since 1992,” said Park Ranger Larry Beane, who has been at the preserve since 1995. “Visitors often come up to me and thank us for the progress and preservation. They often say the park is now family friendly.”
The Little River National Preserve is the largest National Park Service area in Alabama and receives 300,000 visitors each year. Park Superintendent Gail Bishop and Canyon Center Director Pete Conroy invite the public for this special free event.
For more information, call 256-845-9605.