Shelby County receives grant for Cahaba River Park


MONTGOMERY – Shelby County has been awarded a $200,000 grant to construct a trailhead and 5-mile, multi-use trail at the planned Cahaba River Park.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced $3.3 million in grants on Tuesday, Nov. 21, for recreational trails in several parts of the state.

The 18 grants will help improve or construct recreation venues in nine municipalities, numerous state parks, a university campus and several other trail systems.

“Outdoor trails lead to healthier minds and bodies, and they are a great investment in our state and communities,” Ivey said in a release. “I welcome these new or improved trails, and I encourage everyone to visit one and experience the outdoors that Alabama offers.”

The grants were awarded from funds made available to the state from the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreational Trails Program. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the program in Alabama.

“Gov. Ivey and I both applaud those elected officials, individuals and organizations who work so hard to improve recreation opportunities in their communities,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “I am pleased that ADECA is a partner in this process to enhance recreation and make our communities better places to live.”

Work is under way on the planned Cahaba River Park, a 1,500-acre site with recreational trails and canoe launch sites near the Bibb County line in western Shelby County.

The river will split the park into two sites with different amenities.

The north side, which is being called the Helena/Hoover Sector, includes most of the park’s acreage. The sector comprises 1,212 acres of Forever Wild property and 127 acres of county property.

Cahaba River Park is a Shelby County venture that is being developed in conjunction with Forever Wild Land Trust, an initiative of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Access to the Helena/Hoover Sector will be from Shelby County 13 to Shelby County 251. Shelby County 13 runs through Helena.

Other planned work includes trails for mountain biking, hiking and trail running; multiple parking locations at trailheads; canoe launch sites; a pavilion and restroom facility; and a caretaker’s house for a law enforcement officer.

The Helena/Hoover Sector will feature about 15 miles of professionally designed trails and multiple canoe launch sites that will allow for short trips or runs as long as 7 miles.

Cahaba lilies, a flower that can be found in the river and only a few other places in the Southeast, are present in parts of the park.

The south side of the river, which is being called the Boothton/Montevallo Sector, comprises 188 acres of Shelby County property.

Access to this sector will be from Shelby County 10 to the south side of Shelby County 251.

Shelby County 10 runs southeast to Montevallo.

The site where Shelby County 251 meets the Cahaba River has been a popular gathering place where people would drive vehicles across a concrete slab in the river, but officials stressed that there will be no access for motorized vehicles across the river.

A tar and gravel pavement installation at Shelby County 251 has been completed, and a canoe launch location is being planned, officials said.

Future plans for the sector include all-terrain vehicle trails, non-motorized/multiuse trails and a caretaker’s house.