Photo by Grant Posey


To celebrate the successful completion of Wild South’s Canyon Mapping Program, Wild South staff and guest experts in the fields of archaeology, geology and aquatic biology will lead a series of educational hikes in 2013 to some of the canyons in the Bankhead National Forest that, because of documentation by Mark Kolinski and our volunteer canyon mapping team, will receive designation for an elevated level of protection by the USFS.  Our goal is to provide national forest visitors with an outdoor experience that will introduce them to unique sandstone canyon ecosystems and cultural history outside the more well-known recreation areas of the Bankhead National Forest.

Sign up at or 256-974-6166.  Group sizes are limited and advance sign-up is required (see important sign-up details below in bold).  Ages 10 and over are welcome.

Geology  Presentation and Hike, Bankhead National Forest, Alabama

Saturday, February 9, 2013  9:00 a.m.  Meet-up details and directions are below.

Our next Bankhead National Forest Canyon Celebration hike will be held on Saturday, February 9 and will be led by Wild South staff members Mark Kolinski and Janice Barrett, and Dr. Jim Lacefield.

Jim Lacefield e-mail

Jim Lacefield lives in rural Colbert County near Tuscumbia with his wife Faye. He is retired from the University of North Alabama as adjunct professor of biology and Earth sciences. He received a doctorate in science education from the University of Alabama in 1998, with subject specializations in biology and geology. He currently spends time writing articles for the popular press on Alabama’s geology, geologic history and natural environment. He is the author of a popular-level book on Alabama’s geologic history and fossils entitled Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks: A Guide to the State’s Ancient Life and Landscapes, published in 2000 by the Alabama Geological Society. The book has been adopted as a text or supplementary text by eight universities. He is nearing completion on a much larger, second edition of the book.


Before departing for the Bankhead,  Wild South’s Alabama Programs Manager Mark Kolinski will give a brief presentation about the geological significance of the areas to be visited and about the Canyon Mapping Program.  Then Dr. Lacefield will take the floor for a 40 minute presentation on the geology of our part of Alabama.

The outdoor part of the day will be conducted at 2 or 3 different sites to allow Dr. Lacefield to teach from limestone all the way up through sandstone.  Participants may count on walking 2.5 or 3 miles and are asked to remember that canyons were not created for the convenience of humans and can be inherently challenging to get around in.  For our canyon hikes series, we strive to choose sites that are the least challenging to hike and that are the shortest walk in, but that in itself is a challenge since the nature of a canyon requires us to climb down to get  in and up to get out!  There are no trails in the canyons that we surveyed and terrain is rough and sloped.  Thus, we rate this a “moderately challenging” hike.

The group size for this hike is limited.  Dr. Lacefield’s geology hikes are always very popular and fill quickly!  To make it fair for everyone, there will be a drawing from the first 40 responders that will determine who gets on the list.  Everyone else will go on a waiting list in the order that responses were received by e-mail or phone.  There will be no limit on group size for the pre-hike presentation and those who don’t get to hike may attend the presentation.

Be prepared for winter weather; shallow, narrow stream crossings; slippery, wet forest floor.  Foot wear must be sturdy with reliable traction for slick rocks, slopes and wetness.  The hike out will be an uphill climb, mostly gradual.

Bring a backpack lunch, snacks and drinking water.  Other handy items:  a notebook and pen, camera, walking stick.

Meet at the Warrior Mountains Trading Company at 11312 AL Hwy. 33, Moulton, AL.  Park on the south end of the building, come into the store and make your way to the Wild South picnic table.  We will gather there at 9:00 a.m. for Mark’s and Dr. Lacefield’s presentations.

There is no charge for this event, but donations are gratefully accepted and will support our work to protect our forests on public lands.

Here are pictures from our January 5th Archaeology hike with Dr. Bruce Bizzoco:

Wild South’s  Canyon Celebration Hikes are funded by a grant from The National Environmental Education Foundation.



  1. David Caudle on January 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    Great thing you’re doing here!