One area of Lake Martin has some new trails, sights and resting places open thanks to recent efforts by Alabama Power.
The company finished a project in December as part of The Preserves initiative with Lake Logan Martin, Lake Harris, Lay Lake, Weiss Lake and Neely Henry Lake.
The additions are made for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and bird watching and some have pollinator plots, which can enhance biodiversity, according to a press release. Other additions include trails and gazebos.
“You may go up on a high hillside and have a great view from up there on one of the gazebos and then the trail goes down into more of a lowland habitat with ferns when it’s warm and they’re growing,” Alabama Power’s Josh Yerby said.
“We have a lot of bridges out there that we mixed in, cedar benches for people to rest as they go along. “
Nature’s Way, the Lake Martin trail system, has two gazebos, eight bridges, six cedar benches and interpretive signage spaced throughout the trail, according to Alabama Power’s Sheila Smith. There are 4 miles of interconnecting trails with color-coded trail tags, trail directional signage and a gravel parking lot that can accommodate about 10 vehicles.
“Wood used for the gazebos is primarily Osage orange and cypress,” Smith said in an email. “Osage orange is renowned for its density and durability. One gazebo is called ‘The Overlook’ and the other is called ‘The Perch.’”
All of these are improvements at the location. The renovated location, which was made on Alabama Power property, is off of Old Tree Road in Dadeville near ther reservoir.
“When we pick a property to do a nature trail on we look at certain criteria,” Yerby said. “We want to have enough property to construct a trail. We want to pick a piece of property that we can develop and keep a natural as we can and as educational as we can.”
The interpretive signs explain the history of the land and current vegetation of the area.
“These lands allow people to enjoy, learn and grow a deeper appreciation of our state’s ecology and natural landscape,” Alabama Power said in a press release. “They allow our citizens to access and enjoy our lakes. They are inclusive and open to all. The Preserves will be located throughout our service territory with varying amenities such as playgrounds, trails, boat ramps, picnic areas and fishing piers.”
Lake Martin Resource Association president John Thompson said the renovation is another indication of Alabama Power’s commitment to the lake.
“It certainly offers some great views of the lake,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be a welcome addition to an established area for hikers to enjoy.”
Yerby received positive feedback about the Lake Martin site and hopes people enjoy the trails.
“All of our sites are open to the public free of charge,” Yerby said. “(I hope) to have them to be able to get out in nature and enjoy what we have to offer and what the state has to offer.”
Thompson said he looks forward to hiking the new trails.
“This is just a great addition,” Thompson said. “I’m happy to see it.”