The Rotary Trail is on its Way!

The highly anticipated Rotary Trail is under construction!

The Rotary Trail is a four-block park located along First Avenue South between 24th and 20th Streets that will feature boardwalks, running and biking paths, picnic areas, benches and many more amenities. As a linage to the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail System, the Rotary Trail will serve to connect already existing developments in Railroad Park, Regions Field and the future Powell Avenue Steam Plant. The development will also link growing districts like Lakeview and Avondale, and provide safe walking and biking options between Sloss Furnaces and the Crossplex.

This project will bring more than a park and walkways through the downtown Birmingham area. The Rotary Trail will provide historic character, embracing Birmingham’s past and bringing it to the future. It will offer transit links to surrounding districts just as the original railroad did. The Trail is packed with community-building features such as a dedicated education space and designs for an amphitheater. On top off all of that, it creates green space in an urban city, which can be a difficult task to accomplish.

Once completed, the Rotary Trail will leave a lasting gift for the city of Birmingham and its citizens. The Freshwater Land Trust is proud to be playing a role in the planning process for this transformational project. Once completed, the Rotary Trail will serve as another Birmingham success story and testament to the transformational work that public-private partnerships can bring to our community.

Stay tuned for more updates. Happy trails!

rt group    wendy and bill


The Zoo Loop Is Here!

Cyclist, runners and pedestrians now have a safe and accessible trail from the Birmingham Zoo to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens!

The Zoo Loop, a 1.3-mile trail that links the Birmingham Zoo and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, opened July 1. The trail connects the cities of Birmingham, Homewood and Mountain Brook through a walking path along the perimeter of the Birmingham Zoo’s property and another loop around the Botanical Gardens. This critical connection was identified as a priority connection in the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail System planning process.

Although the trail is complete, the plan also calls for a pedestrian bridge linking Homewood and Mountain Brook across U.S. Highway 280 along Hollywood Boulevard. The constructed sidewalks would then eventually connect to trails and walkways from the ever-expanding Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System.

The Zoo Loop connects two amazing attractions making them one destination. The loop will only enhance the experiences and memories created at the Birmingham Zoo and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Your adventure is only one walk away!

zoo loop

Parks Rx Partners work to make healthy choices the easy choices

IMG_1817The health benefits associated with parks and trails have been a central theme throughout the creation and development of the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System.  The plan was designed in coordination with the Jefferson County Department of Health, while many of the trail projects currently under construction were strategically chosen to increase recreational space in neighborhoods that are home to some of the region’s highest rates of obesity and obesity-related illnesses, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

The Freshwater Land Trust is excited to continue exploring the health benefits of green space by partnering with the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, UAB, the Jefferson County Department of Health, and other organizations to develop a local Parks Prescription program.  The program is modeled on work in other cities that involves health care providers connecting patients with outdoor recreational spaces near where they live.  Research has shown that access to places for physical activity, combined with informational outreach, produces a nearly 50% increase in the frequency of physical activity.

The partnerships around the Parks Prescription program will provide additional opportunities for residents to enjoy some of the amazing local parks and trails, improving their health and the general health of the community.

YMCA & Red Rock Partner for Healthy Communities

stan law2015’s first Red Rock Tuesday on Fox 6’s Good Day Alabama kicked off this morning at the Shades Valley YMCA. We spent the morning with Jeh Jeh and President & CEO of the YMCA Stan Law learning more about how the Y is working with local partners to bring greater health impacts to the community by encouraging people to get outside and exercise.

The YMCA’s efforts to create programs that get people outside the four walls of the gym and connected to parks and trails coincides with the Freshwater Land Trust’s work to provide access to these outside places where they can exercise and play. Our mission is to preserve the places that matter so that people can become connected with the outdoors, and the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail System serves as that important connection.

Specifically, the Y is working with the Freshwater Land Trust to create social walking groups that utilize the Red Rock Trail System. These groups encourage people to get active outside – to visit a park or trail and exercise together – so that they can be healthier. We all know the health benefits of exercising, but the social aspect of walking a trail or playing in a park is also beneficial to the community’s well-being.

Have a safe place to go outside and exercise is one of the first steps to living a healthier lifestyle. The goal of the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail System is to connect people to the places they want to go. We want to provide those connections, so that the healthy choice can become the easy choice. People who have access to parks and trails in their neighborhoods are more likely to use them every day to fulfill their health and fitness goals. We look forward to continuing our work with the YMCA as well as the Jefferson County Department of Health and other Health Action Partnership leaders to provide these meaningful connections and make Birmingham a healthier, more walkable place to live, work and play.

Remember to follow the Freshwater Land Trust on Facebook to stay updated on the newest additions to the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail System, and tune into Red Rock Tuesday on Good Day Alabama on the first Tuesday of every month!


Red Rock Tuesday with Fox 6’s Good Day Alabama


Four years ago, the Freshwater Land Trust partnered with FOX 6 for a monthly segment on Good Day Alabama  with Jeh Jeh Pruitt to broadcast from area parks and trails to talk about the health, economic, environmental, and general community benefits of green space in Jefferson County. This monthly television segment gives us the opportunity to educate local communities on the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail System and how they can connect to the places that want to go.

The 2015 version of Red Rock Tuesday kicks off next Tuesday, March 3rd at the Shades Valley YMCA. We’re excited to spend another year with Jeh Jeh and his team traveling throughout Jefferson County to spread the word about the Red Rock. This year we’ll feature special giveaways and exciting announcements about new trails being built, so stay tuned every first Tuesday of the month!

The YMCA of Greater Birmingham is one of the most visible organizations promoting local health, and they have plans to further expand their impact by reaching outside of a facility’s four walls and into area neighborhoods. Next week we’ll hear from the Y’s President/CEO Stan Law about current programs that are positively impacting families, and also get a glimpse into what the Y has planned to make our entire community healthier.  

BoardWe hope you will tune in, or better yet, come to the Y or any of our 2015 Red Rock Tuesday locations! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on where we’ll be the next month and how you can get involved with the Red Rock Ridge & Valley Trail System.