FORT PAYNE, AL (July 15, 2021) – The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recently completed the purchase of a 157-acre tract of land along Little River near DeSoto Falls.
The additional land expands DeSoto State Park, and it also protects critical habitat along Little River and maintains the pristine natural beauty of the DeSoto Falls area.
“The Alabama State Parks system is dedicated to preserving natural areas of our state, and that’s exactly what this land purchase accomplishes,” said Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship. “DeSoto Falls is one of Alabama’s true natural wonders, and we keep it that way by preserving the area for future generations to enjoy.”
The land acquisition, known as the Little River West Fork Tract, secures more than 1,000 feet of frontage along Little River, enhancing public access to the waterway above the falls and supporting the park’s mission to enhance public recreation and interpret the natural environment. It also compliments the state ownership of land at DeSoto Falls, as well as those of nearby Forever Wild property along the West Fork of Little River.
The land purchase continues efforts to secure more land along Little River for DeSoto State Park, as well as a broader interest to make recreational improvements at the DeSoto Falls area. In addition to the recent improvements to the DeSoto Falls restrooms, the park system intends to make improvements to the swimming beach and re-pave the parking lot in 2022.
DeSoto State Park ranked as the fifth-most visited natural destination in 2020, according to the Alabama Department of Tourism, and the additional land can do nothing but enhance the park’s popularity.
Limiting development along the west fork of Little River also helps the nearby Little River Canyon National Preserve, which is located downriver from the park, and protects the natural scenery on Lookout Mountain.
“It’s definitely good news for this land to become part of DeSoto State Park,” said Angela Shugart, Executive Director of Little River Waterkeeper. “Our organization is dedicated to promoting clean water, air and healthy communities. Thousands of visitors come to Lookout Mountain ever year because of Little River, and this is another step in protecting it for generations to come.”