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TVA River Neighbors
October 2004


Muscle Shoals
Walkers Cyclists Enjoy New Trail

image of people cyclingSome people have called it the “Central Park of the South.” A new pedestrian/bike trail connecting the TVA Muscle Shoals Reservation and the Alabama cities of Florence, Sheffield, and Muscle Shoals is providing access to newly-created vistas throughout this urban forest.

By all accounts, the recently-completed 2.6-mile Reservation Road Trail is a hit. Local residents are glad to have a link between the dedicated non-motorized traffic lane on the new Patton Island Bridge and the 12.5-mile Muscle Shoals Trail Complex. Tourists are taking advantage of the fact that the new path connects several area hotels and restaurants with a network of trails leading through a variety of habitat types—including mixed hardwood forest, streamside, wildflower plots, and a 17-acre field planted in native warm season grasses. The trail ends at an overlook featuring the best public view of Wilson Dam.

The Reservation Road Trail is handicapped accessible and offers plenty of opportunities to spot native wildlife, including bobcat, deer, raccoon, and fox. The trail is also listed as part of the new North Alabama Birding Trail; it’s a great place to see migrating warblers in the spring and fall as well as sparrows and other grassland birds in winter.

Songbird Trail is Improved and Extended

image of song birdA favorite trail on TVA’s Norris Reservation is now better than ever. Another 1.4 miles have been added to the Songbird Trail, making what used to be a one-way hike an easy 2.2-mile loop. The trail also has been widened and its surface improved. It is now accessible by persons with disabilities along its entire length. Additional enhancements include a new restroom and two new bridges over stream crossings.

The Songbird Trail, as the name suggests, is a popular area for birding. Along the river, you’re likely to see great blue herons, Canada geese, kingfishers, and wood ducks, with the occasional osprey or bald eagle. Woodpeckers, warblers, and sparrows are easy to spot in the adjacent fields and forests. A special feature is the high concentration of eastern bluebirds in the area.

The Norris Dam Reservation has been designated a Wildlife Observation Area by the State of Tennessee. It is locally famous for viewing deer and other animals in the evening.

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