FLFR’s Newest Project: Taylor Canoe Park - TCP
FLFR is currently developing a public access point on the Locust Fork River at the Highway 26 river crossing in Royal (Blountsville), Alabama. The 0.3 acre site was donated to FLFR for development by the Taylor family. After major improvements to the site are completed, FLFR will hand over ownership to Blount County, pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding with the Blount County Commission.
The improvements to Taylor Canoe Park address two problems:
(1) The need for more public access points on the Locust Fork River, a river that draws paddlers, anglers and seekers of scenic vistas from across the state and region.Taylor Canoe Park will enhance the County’s efforts to increase its outdoor tourism opportunities and reap tourism's economic benefits.
(2) The need to correct the site’s severe stream bank erosion caused by surface water runoff from Highway 26, repair a large erosional gully that sends sediment into the river, and provide a trail to the river and a flat vehicle parking area.
Upon completion, Taylor Canoe Park will join the Alabama Scenic River Trail at the head of the 11-mile river section extending downriver to Kings Bend Scenic Overlook. This section of the Locust Fork River is renowned for its amazing rock bluffs, shoals, small rapids, biodiversity and native species vegetation. Paddlers from novice to expert prize this section as do anglers for its excellent sports fishing.
The Taylor Canoe Park project was initially estimated to cost $75,000. FLFR is grateful to CAWACO RC&D https://cawaco.org/ - Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham https://www.cfbham.org/ and Alabama Scenic River Trail https://www.alabamascenicrivertrail.com/ for providing generous grants to get started. FLFR is also grateful to the many individual donors who stepped up to help fund this project. At the end of November, the estimated cost of the project rose by $10,500, to provide installation of a safe, gently sloped walkway of stone and gravel from the parking area down to the river as well as a small staging area halfway down the incline. Current estimated cost is $85,500.
FLFR is seeking donations and grants to complete fundraising so that Taylor Canoe Park can be finished and opened in the Spring of 2024.
To bring the Taylor Canoe Park to reality, FLFR contracted with Wilbanks Engineering & Environmental Solutions, LLC, a company known throughout Alabama and the Southeastern U.S. for its expertise in stream bank and wetland restoration projects. The company is one of the leading firms for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy and many other non-profit and for profit individuals/organizations.