Irondale, Alabama – On Tuesday, May 3rd, Freshwater Land Trust (FLT) and partners hosted a ribbon cutting for the newly completed Moon River canoe launch parking lot in Irondale, along with Mayor James Stewart of the City of Irondale and other city representatives. The ribbon cutting was covered live on WBRC FOX6’s Good Day Alabama with Jeh Jeh Pruitt.
Thanks to all the partners who made this possible, including the City of Irondale, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama, Alabama Power Foundation, Jefferson County Department of Health, and Vulcan Materials Company. The parking lot was designed by Goodwyn Mills Cawood and built by Outdoor Construction under FLT’s supervision.
The new parking lot allows safe and direct access to a short trail leading to the “Moon River” canoe launch, allowing water enthusiasts access to the Cahaba River.
“We are thrilled to provide public access to the Moon River Canoe Launch with the addition of the new parking lot,” said Rusha Smith, FLT’s Executive Director. “The more people that can be exposed to the spectacular Cahaba River, the better, and we hope the use of it encourages people to protect the numerous rivers and streams in our area.”
While a canoe launch has existed at this location for several years, until now, there has not been a parking lot to service it. With the addition of the parking lot, FLT’s Moon River property off Highway 78 in Irondale will officially be added to the Cahaba Blueways Project, a series of public access points on the Cahaba River.
The new parking lot accommodates up to seven vehicles. Due to nearby designated wetlands, the location of the gravel parking lot was built on an Alabama Department of Transportation right-of-way to avoid any negative impacts to the native habitat.
FLT acquired the Moon River property in 2003 as part of its mission to conserve, care for, and connect land and water in Central Alabama. The land was acquired as part of the Jefferson County Greenways Plan and considered critical for water quality protection. Through strong partnerships, FLT has improved habitat and aesthetics on the tract.
The Cahaba Blueway is a partnership initiative headed by The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development designed to equip local governments and nonprofit partners like the Freshwater Land Trust to create safe, sustainable, and durable recreational access infrastructure along the river. This infrastructure, along with online public information resources and signage, enhances the public’s ability to experience one of the most beautiful and biologically important rivers in the United States.
“The Moon River Access is an example of the great work that Cahaba Blueway partners are doing to create infrastructure that strengthens the connection between people and the river while protecting this fragile resource,” said Brian Rushing, coordinator for the Cahaba Blueway Program.
Even though the site is called “Moon River,” it is actually a site to access the Cahaba River. This location was nicknamed “Moon River” because of an old river camp, gas station, and dance hall called Moon River that was nearby in the 1930s.
The completion of this project is long anticipated and will allow avid paddlers, families, and the general community opportunities to get outside and enjoy a unique hydrological feature that defines our area.
To find other access points that are part of the Cahaba Blueways, visit cahabablueway.org.