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canoeThe new and improved Irondale Riverwalk at Grants Mill Road was unveiled earlier this month and is now open to the public just in time for spring! This newly designed canoe launch provides easy access to the Cahaba River for outdoor enthusiasts of any skill level. With funding from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Nature Conservancy completed this project in order to improve the previous canoe launch and trail located on Freshwater Land Trust property to make it a safe, low impact, durable and more easily accessible launch for paddle sports, fishing, sight-seeing, running and walking.

The project is the product of a partnership between the Nature Conservancy of Alabama, Cahaba River Society, University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, and Alabama Innovation Engine. The Freshwater Land Trust owns the land where the canoe launch was built, and the City of Irondale manages the property.

“The Freshwater Land Trust is thankful to work with such outstanding partners who share our passion of preserving the Cahaba River for everyone to enjoy. The Irondale Riverwalk is a special place on the Cahaba for people to visit and reconnect with the outdoors, and we are proud to have played a role this impactful project,” said Wendy Jackson, executive director of the Freshwater Land Trust.

The City of Irondale has also played an important role in bringing the new launch to life and is looking to further connect it to other greenspaces in the area.

The Irondale Riverwalk is one of 24 canoe launches along the 190 mile Cahaba River, which is the longest uninterrupted stretch of river in Alabama. The Cahaba supports 131 species of fish, 64 rare and imperiled species—13 of which are found nowhere else in the world—and is home to the largest known stand of imperiled shoal lilies, known as the Cahaba Lily.

This particular canoe launch is a part of a larger vision of connecting the Cahaba Blueway. Thanks so many conservation-minded partners working together on projects like theis, paddlers, walker, runners, bikers, and onlookers will have a place to connect with the Cahaba River, a unique, natural treasure to the many communities that lie along its banks.

Click here to view more photos from the Grants Mill Canoe launch ribbon cutting, courtesy of the Cahaba River Society!

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