Well finally getting a chance to get back on here. I've been working with the Cullman County commission on this project for the past couple of years. It has been a wild ride, but the land is now officially purchased and the RTP program has provided an increase to Cullman County's grant for this year to allow for initial engineering and construction work. Hopefully we will begin the design process this year and get something started next year at the latest. Here's a synoposis of the roller coaster ride this has been.
Initially Cullman County had 168 acres that had been a decommissioned landfill they were interested in using to start an OHV park with. Sammi Danford with the Economic Development Agency started working the grant process. After talking and looking at the area, Cullman County put together a deal to purchase an additional 325 or so acres to bring the total to just under 500 acres. We had to go thru an election cycle that could have brought iin commissioners who opposed the park, then we had a public meeting on the park after the elections worked out in our favor. The overwhelming majority of those at the meeting supported the park with mainly 2 very vocal opponents. However after the meeting everything almost came to a screeching halt. A county deputy had heard about the meeting and wanted to know if we were aware of tires being dumped on the land planned for purchased. Sammie was a ware of "some" tires that were disposed of per environmental requirements, but he said no, there were over 2 million tires just dumped on the land. The head of the county commission took a plane ride over the land and sure enought, tires were strewn everwhere, and this tract was in the middle of what was being purchased. The county engineer had not physically inspected the site, just noted a conversation about "some" tires. Well this was a MAJOR problem, but there was a silver lining. Another resident approached the commissioners after hearing about the meeting and wanted to know if they were interested in purchasing the 1500 acres mentioned in the article. After several meetings and Jon Strickland, who heads the RTP program here, and I touring the land with the commissioners, the commission was able to put together a deal where the Alabama Land Trust (or was it State Land Trust) purchased the land outright and then the county paid them back over a multi year plan using RTP funds. The deeds were signed last month and we hope to get work started soon. The land is really nice with lots of terrain changes and the edge of the property borders a small ravine with a creek in the bottom, the owner had been logging the land and they almost got their dozer stuck at the bottom of the ravine plowing trails it was so steep. The plan we have talked about is mainly moderate and beginner level with at least one hard trail, and possiably a rock pile at the entrance area. The land will be open to 4WD, ATV, and motorcycle, and there has been discussions of making a horse trail on the perimeter to provide a buffer zone for the neighbors. I've already promised Sammie I'll do a cartwheel when we finally open the first PUBLIC 4WD trail in the state.