Flora Blitz (yeah, we just made that up) and Hike in the Bankhead National Forest

 9:00 a.m. at the Wild South office, 552 Lawrence Street, Moulton, Alabama

Sign up at janice@wildsouth.org or 256-974-6166.  Advance registration is required. Please include your phone number when signing up.

Destination:  Payne Creek   

Leader:  Botanist Kevin England

Distance:  Approx. 1.5 miles roundtrip

Level of Difficulty:  Moderate

Use your powers of observation and be a scientist for a day!  Local botanist Kevin England will lead hikers in identifying and documenting the plants along the Payne Creek Trail from the trailhead at Highway 33 to the rock shelter on the creek in the canyon.

The Payne Creek Trail is part of the Payne Creek Outdoor Classroom/Shortleaf Pine Restoration Area located on the east side of Highway 33 just north of the Sipsey Fork.  The trail and the canyon the creek runs through is rich in botanical wonders, especially ferns.

Documentation on this hike will include using iNaturalist to catalog our finds throughout the day.  This will be the first of multiple trips to the Payne Creek Outdoor Classroom/Shortleaf Pine Restoration Area to document the diverse flora of the site.  Our efforts will result in a floristic checklist for the outdoor classroom.

Future trips will also include documenting all forms of life found in the Payne Creek Outdoor Classroom/Shortleaf Pine Restoration Area resulting in a complete Bioblitz of the site.  The goal of this ongoing project is to produce a classroom guide for high school and college age groups that documents all forms of life on the site.

Items to bring:

1.) camera (cell phone camera will work fine as well)

2.) iNaturalist Account online (we will help setup your account if needed)

3.) notebook

4.) Blank Checklist and clipboard (limited supply of these will be available)

5.) pen/pencil

6.) Hand lens

7.) Daypack with lunch, snacks, drinking water

8.) Tick repellent

iNaturalist Projects to join:

  • Payne Outdoor Classroom/Shortleaf Pine Restoration Area – Bankhead National Forest
  • Biodiversity of Bankhead National Forest, Alabama
  • Biodiversity of Alabama

Be prepared for heat and high humidity and ticks.

The hiking trail goes downhill for about half a mile before descending further into the canyon.  That means the return trip at mid-day is mostly uphill.  In the canyon, the hike proceeds a short distance along Payne Creek where there is deep shade, tall sandstone bluffs and a large rock shelter.

The hike and Flora Blitz will conclude by early afternoon.

Dogs are not allowed on this hike.

If it makes more sense to meet the group at the trailhead on Highway 33 instead of coming in to Moulton, please let us know when you sign up.

This hike is free of charge but donations to support Wild South’s Alabama Outreach and Education Program are gratefully accepted.  Your support keeps us Wild and strong.  Thank you!