Access Threat on Mulberry Fork, AL

Posted: 02/01/2001
by Jason Robertson

On February 8th, Blount County Commissioners will consider a request to transfer the Highway 31 public right of way and access point on the Mulberry Fork to private ownership. This might result in the loss of this vital public access site.

American Whitewater's Regional Coordinator Steve Gowen is working with the landowners, county and state officials exploring opportunites for a public-private partnership guaranteeing long-term access in the future.





Paul Hudson, District Commissioner
Blount County Commissioners
911 Caldwell Road
Hayden, AL 35079
(205) 647-1333

Royce King, Commission Chairman
Blount County Commissioners
220 Second Avenue East
Oneonta, AL 35121


American Whitewater is a non-profit river conservation organization. We were founded in 1957 with the purpose of conserving and restoring America's whitewater resources and enhancing opportunities to enjoy them safely. We have 8,000 members, and represent more than 160 affiliate clubs with an additional 80,000 whitewater paddlers. Our program areas focus on safety, conservation, access, and events. American Whitewater has about 250 members in Alabama, and represents an additional 1600 people through our affiliate clubs in the state.


Dear Chairman King and Commissioner Hudson,

I understand that you have been asked to consider transferring the public Mulberry Fork river access site on Old Highway 31 into private ownership.

American Whitewater strongly encourages the Blount County Commission to deny the request, as it is neither in the public's recreational nor economic interest to move the site into private ownership.

No viable alternative river access site exists on this stretch of river. Therefore loss of this public access point will result in decreased fishing and boating opportunities, decreased tourism, and decreased visitor revenue in Blount County. Additionally, the loss of this site would prevent the public enjoyment of one of Alabama's premier rivers.

The Old Highway 31 access site is an important and valuable public resource. This river access site has been used by thousands of Blount County residents and visitors every year for more than a quarter century. It is also used as the put-in for the annual Mulberry Fork races, which bring hundreds of visitors to the count every year.

American Whitewater strongly encourages the Commission to work with the Friends of Mulberry Fork and Alabama Rivers Alliance to protect river access at the Old Highway 31 bridge.

If you have any questions for me, or if I can be of any assistance, please call me toll free at 866-262-8429.

Sincerely,

{signed}

Jason D. Robertson
Access Director
American Whitewater
January 31, 2001

CC:

Justin Ellis
Watershed Leadership Director
Alabama Rivers Alliance
2027 Second Avenue North, Suite A
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 322-6395
1-877-862-5260 toll free
(205) 322-6397 FAX
jellis@alabamarivers.org
www.alabamarivers.org

Lawden Yates
President of Friends of Mulberry Fork
(256) 625-4745
lawdeny@blountsville.net

Jason Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349