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Bradford Creek Greenway officially opens

Mayor Troy Trulock holds an umbrella for one of the officials at the opening of Bradford Creek Greenway. (CONTRIBUTED)
Mayor Troy Trulock holds an umbrella for one of the officials at the opening of Bradford Creek Greenway. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Madison has preserved a tract of nature with the opening of Bradford Creek Greenway on Dec. 21.

Residents can walk or bicycle on the 12-foot wide pathway, stretching approximately 2.3 miles from Palmer Park to Heritage Elementary School.

Mayor Troy Trulock officiated at the opening. The Land Trust of North Alabama owns conservation easements for most of the land, confirming the land will remain pristine.

Along Bradford Creek, the greenway has beavers, raccoons, opossum, deer, owls, fish, hawks, native wetland plants and amphibians. Wildlife can thrive in sprawling city, conservationist Nat Berry.

In 1998, the City of Madison and North Alabama Sierra Club implemented Madison’s first nature trail, Rainbow Mountain Trails. Berry hand-cut the trails by himself. “At that time, conservation and ‘greenspace’ were not considered in city planning,” Berry said.

In 1999, the city organized the Madison Greenways and Trails committee “to promote green thinking,” Berry said. “We continued to lobby the council and mayor for more green space and trails to connect the city.”

Trails offer an alternative route for bicyclists and pedestrians. “We wanted a major greenway to follow Bradford Creek to replicate the style of Huntsville’s Indian Creek Greenway,” Berry said.

Eventually, the committee grew to have developers, environmental activists, a council liaison and planning and zoning personnel. During Mayor Jan Wells’ administration, city employee Johnny Blizzard secured a federal grant to fund a greenway.

“Mayor Sandy Kirkindall and planning and zoning secured greenway land. The mayor also formed a task force,” Berry said. The committee developed a comprehensive plan.

Mill Creek Greenway and Dog Park opened when Paul Finley was mayor.

With Bradford Creek Greenway’s opening, teachers “can augment any environmental programs and (have) an area of exercise under school supervision,” Berry said. He believes a greater awareness of Madison’s natural places “will instill a desire in children to protect these places.”

“The mayor and city council need to be more vocal in the press in promoting conservation,” especially in annexed Limestone County, Berry said.

For more information, visit madisongreenways.org.

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