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8 October 2007

JSU Celebrates Canyon Center
and Public Lands


“The place is growing like a weed!” said former JSU Biology Department graduate student Clifford Webb after seeing the 25,000 square foot Little River Canyon Center near Fort Payne. 


JSU Biology faculty Dr. Chris Murdock and Physical Earth Science faculty Dr. Jonathan Herbert (second and third from the right) tour visitors through a future classroom of the Little River Canyon Center near Fort Payne, AL.

With this week’s most noticeable accomplishment having been the installation of its massive timber frame, all agree that the project continues to go up at a rapid and steady pace. Thirty feet high, the Center’s apex now looks out over a beautiful landscape of hills, forests, flowering pastures and nearby, one of the most dramatic canyons in the Southeastern United States.



Acres of pasture near the adjoining National Park unit provide tranquil views behind the future LRC Center.

Recently, JSU hosted a nationally publicized Public Lands Day event that attracted many visitors who were shocked to see the progress. Local resident Roberto Sacasas commented “They must be working through the night to build so much here.”  He continued, “This place is going to change the region in a great and positive way.”



Subcontractors from Jacaman Construction work to dusk installing the Center’s heavy timber frame

On Public Lands Day, visitors toured the new construction and walked through the well defined spaces which now include the future Grand Hall, classrooms, library, kitchen, auditorium, museum, arts and education store, JSU research labs and National Park Service offices. After the tour, many stayed to assist the Little River Canyon Preserve by picking up litter along roadsides and hiking trails.


JSU Professor Dr. Jonathan Herbert, a native of the United Kingdom, said “Our faculty looks forward to using the canyon, river, trails and, of course, this great building as awe inspiring classrooms for everybody.”


Wearing gloves and holding a big black plastic bag of trash, he continued, “It’s truly a pleasure to give service back to the community and the National Preserve.”


Throughout the 18 months of construction, periodic trips and tours of the site will be arranged for the public, JSU faculty, staff and students. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact the Environmental Policy and Information Center at 256-782-8010 to be included when such events occur.

Check out the recently posted videos of the Little River Canyon Center construction sites now available on YouTube: Construction Scenes of Little River Canyon Center.

For more information about the Little River Canyon Center, please contact project Director Pete Conroy at 256-782-8010 or

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