smith mountain

A dedication ceremony will be held next Thursday morning at Smith Mountain. Educational exhibits have been in place since the spring.

Educational exhibits have been in place since the spring at Smith Mountain and are garnering attention despite no dedication.

The Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association (CRATA) will solve the dedication problem as it holds a ceremony next Thursday.

“There are people who have seen the displays and highly regard them,” CRATA president Jerry Bynum said. “We are already being invited to conferences to talk about it.”

Bynum said the large educational signs have information about the natural history of the area. The displays give visitors information about the geology, wildlife and flora of the area by presenting the information in small amounts of text with photographs and graphics.

Bynum said a lot of the work on the educational material in the displays is thanks to CRATA members Harold Banks and Kenneth Boone while the installation of the project is greatly credited to John Proffit.

CRATA has developed trails on Alabama Power property around Lake Martin including Smith Mountain and Cherokee Ridge near Martin Dam. The organization has most recently opened trails below Martin Dam in Elmore County.

The dedication of the Smith Mountain educational displays will honor the benefactors of the project including the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA).

“We got a grant through ADECA,” Bynum said. “It is through the recreational trails program.”

Bynum said the display dedication will also honor others who donated to the project but it will not be quite the shindig the Smith Mountain Tower dedication was.

“It will not be like the tower dedication,” Bynum said. “We won’t have the catfish dinner but we still expect about 100 people to be there. It will last about 15 minutes.”

The dedication is 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21 at 11 a.m. at the top of the mountain. Guests are asked to arrive at between 10 and 10:30 a.m. to make the walk to the top but transportation will be provided for those unable to make the hike.

The project will be the last in Tallapoosa County for CRATA for a while.

“We are going to Yates,” Bynum said. “We have two trails there on Forever Wild property. We have plans but are not close to being able to disclose them yet. These projects take a lot of work to get started.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.