Montevallos hidden treasure: Local man petitions county commission for park at Davis Falls site

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Henry Emfinger wants everyone to come to love Davis Falls as much as he does.

Emfinger, a historian and curator of the Aldridge Coal Mine Museum, is petitioning to the Shelby County Commission to turn a little known waterfall outside Montevallo into a county park.

Davis Falls is a natural waterfall off Shelby County 10. Reached by a winding mile-long wooded trail, the rapids gradually fall downhill before dropping off a final 30 feet. Emfinger says besides the falls that the area also contains giant rock formations with 100-year-old carvings and a plethora of wildflowers.

&8220;It is calm and peaceful and the perfect location for a waterfalls park,&8221; said Emfinger.

However, he says a great deal of work must be done before a park can open.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is the fact that a private timber company owns the falls. Emfinger says that if the county isn&8217;t willing to buy the property the company may agree to give the land away as

a community service. He points out that when loggers cut timber a few years ago, they left the falls&8217; area untouched.

&8220;If we could get the land donated that would be great,&8221; he said.

However, Emfinger would also like to see an easier access road, improvements to the trail and picnic tables nearby.

Emfinger still gets occasional requests to lead tours to the falls, which he normally does outside of hunting season since a hunting club leases the timber company&8217;s land during deer season.

But he hopes his recent appeals to the county commission will allow everyone to enjoy the landmark.

&8220;Some of my best childhood memories were from Davis Falls,&8221; said Emfinger. &8220;I hope to County Commission will come across and get serious about this because one of the most beautiful spots in Shelby County is being neglected.&8221;