The Land Trust leads regional and community collaborations that plan, preserve, and provide stewardship for green space in North Alabama.
Our mission is to preserve North Alabama’s scenic, historic and ecological resources through conservation, advocacy, recreation and education.
The Land Trust was established in 1987 as a result of potential development on the western slopes of Monte Sano. In the late 1980’s, the City of Huntsville established an Ad Hoc Committee to review slope development and open space issues. They recommended establishing a land trust called the Huntsville Land Trust. The Land Trust began with a dedicated group of volunteers and board members working to raise money to save the western face of Monte Sano Mountain. Several donations of land were received in the first few years and eventually the first Executive Director was hired. The Trust for Public Land worked with the new land trust to negotiate the purchase of the 547 acres on Monte Sano that had been planned for development. This purchase solidified the Land Trust.
Growth & Recognition
By 1997, the Huntsville Land Trust held 950 acres of property and was showing a steady increase in membership support. With consistent financial support from the local jurisdictions and fundraising events, the Huntsville Land Trust began a new period of growth. Between 1998 and 2002, the Land Trust increased its land holdings to over 3,000 acres. The organization’s name was changed to The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama in 1998, then again in 2010 to Land Trust of North Alabama to better reflect the broader mission of service to ten counties in North Alabama.
- 1989: Received Bahai’ Community of Huntsville’s Human Right/Environmental Award
1990: Recognized by President George Bush as America’s 217th “Point of Light”
1990: Selected by the National Environmental Awards Council as recipient of the Environmental Achievement Citation from Renew America (Washington, D.C.) for efforts in developing a healthy and sustainable environment
2008: Named Non-Profit of the Year by the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce
2009: Awarded the first Green U Festival Non-Profit Green Business Award
2009: Presented Alabama A&M University Department of Community Planning and Urban Studies’ Friend of Planning Award
2012: Awarded the Environmental Education Association of Alabama’s Best Community Environmental Education Program in Alabama for “Tuesdays on the Trail” – an environmental education program for elementary and middle school children
2012-2013: Named U.S. Department of the Interior National Recreation Trails for four Land Trust trail systems
2016: Recognized among REI Points of Hiking Interest, along with the Grand Canyon, Point Reyes National Seashore, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Our Work Continues
To date, more than 7,000 acres in five counties have been preserved and 70+ miles of public trails have been developed and are maintained with the help of committed volunteers. Preserved Land Trust properties include habitat for rare – and in some cases, endangered – species. The lands remain protected in the natural state and seven public nature preserves are free and open to everyone for passive recreation such as hiking, canoeing, picnicking, nature study, and photography. Some of the acres are used as outdoor ecology laboratories for local schools, scientists, and researchers, allowing students to personally experience the biological diversity of our environment. We also strive to maintain the agricultural heritage of the community through farm preservation. We own four farms that are leased for various agricultural uses.
In 2016, The City of Huntsville partnered with Land Trust of North Alabama to revise and expedite a master greenway plan for pedestrian connectivity across the City of Huntsville. Over the next few years, the Land Trust will assist with greenway planning preparation and mapping, identify funding sources, and work with landowners on acquisition to ensure the plan becomes a reality.
The Land Trust of North Alabama has become the conduit for establishing a mosaic of natural areas throughout the North Alabama area, allowing all residents easy access to experience nature first-hand. Through our program of land preservation, the natural character of the community is preserved, its essential spirit is maintained, and the quality of life of its residents is permanently enhanced.