JACKSON — The State of Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust (Forever Wild) has reached a historic moment in the history of the program. Forever Wild and Molpus Woodlands Management, a timberland investment management organization (TIMO) headquartered in Jackson on behalf of a client will conclude a yearlong negotiation for the purchase of a 93-year recreational lease within two of the state’s largest and most heavily used Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).
The project will net over 61,000 acres of recreational land in four counties of central Alabama. Terms were not disclosed.
The transaction provides for approximately 27,858 acres within the Bibb and Shelby County portions of the Cahaba River WMA, and 33,280 acres within Tuscaloosa and Walker counties for the Mulberry Fork WMA. Both areas have been part of the state’s WMA system for the last decade, and will now be secured under the long-term lease negotiated by Forever Wild. These two units represent heavily utilized public hunting areas adjacent to the greater Birmingham metropolitan area.
“This project has been crucial in our efforts to advance the long-term protection of recreational lands in Central Alabama,” said Barnett Lawley. Lawley serves a dual role as commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and chairman of the Forever Wild board of trustees.
Molpus Timberlands manages the forest resources within the lease area, and entered into discussions with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources about the possibility of the project over two years ago.
“We are pleased to play a role with Forever Wild in such a unique transaction, and we look forward to working with the State of Alabama to provide public land utilization opportunities for its citizens. I believe that other states will follow Alabama’s lead,” said Dick Molpus, president of Molpus Timberlands.