Dothan's Nature Preserve Gets Grant From Local Business

The land between Fortner Street and Flowers Chapel Road is a hidden gem.

Within the next two years that land will be a kind of nature preserve complete with ten miles of trails.

"When we looked at the whole City of Dothan on aerial photography - I was shocked to see we're business, we're residential and we're agricultural. We think we see lots of trees in this area but I can tell you they're thin bands. If we didn't do something now to be sure that there is some woods, then we could have lost that for good in the City of Dothan," Asst. Director of Dothan Leisure Services, Kim Meeker said.

The recreational value isn't the only benefit; these trails will be a transportation tool as well.

A local business with a special niche sees a bright future with the preserve for well being and opportunities.

"Our tag line is taking your life outside. We're really hoping we'll be able to do some clinics in the long run, maybe some overnight camping excursions, also to be able to host some mountain bike events and trail runs," Eagle Eye Outfitters’ Owner, Susan Anderson said.

Eagle Eye Outfitters is Dothan's retail partner for Columbia Sportswear.

Each year Columbia Sportswear designates a certain amount of funding to be used for environmental initiatives.

With Eagle Eye Outfitters' recommendation they presented $5,000 to the Forever Wild Project.

"This $5,000 was set aside for a trailhead or more than one if it goes that far. So we're talking parking, a bike wash station, dressing rooms for everyone to utilize," Meeker said.

Anderson and Meeker hope the project will inspire Dothan's future.

"I just see it for future generations to increase the awareness for being outdoors," Anderson said.

"It's very important to me and I hope it will become increasingly important to our citizens as they see that this is not just for now but this goes on forever," Meeker said.

Forever Wild is currently doing their second appraisal on the properties, they hope to close on them within three months.

After that's done, the project could take up to two years to complete.

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