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Natural Bridge Picnic Area


GIS: 34.1757628479, -87.2769792276

Open Season: March 14 - November 1
Usage: Light
Water: None
Restroom: Vault Operated By: Forest Service

Natural Bridge Picnic Area is the oldest national forest recreation site in Alabama.  A paved trail (approximately 3/8 mile) leads to this natural rock archway deep in a forest of hardwoods, quaintly-positioned in Bankhead National Forest. So pack a picnic and make the hiking trek to this area.


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The William B. Bankhead National Forest is one of Alabama's four National Forests, covering 181,230 acres. It is home to Alabama's only National Wild and Scenic River, the Sipsey Fork.  It is located in northwestern Alabama, around the town of Double Springs.  It is named in honor of William B. Bankhead, a longtime U.S. Representative from Alabama.

The National Forests in Alabama began with the Alabama Purchase Unit, established by the National Forest Commission in Fiscal Year 1914. The area was proclaimed the Alabama National Forest by President Woodrow Wilson on January 15, 1918.

The first forest was located in Franklin, Lawrence and Winston Counties. Land acquisition files show that much of the ridge tops had been cut-over and approximately 40-percent of the land was cut-over, cultivated and vacated farmland. The virgin timber must have been located in the deep gorges and on public domain land.

On June 19, 1936, by proclamation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Alabama National Forest was renamed the Black Warrior National Forest. About six years later on June 17, 1942, the name was changed, by an Act of Congress, to the William B. Bankhead National Forest.

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