Red Mountain Park consists of 1,108 acres, stretching four-and-a-half miles between the cities of Homewood and Bessemer, along the ridges and hollows of the mountain from which it takes its name. Red Mountain was the primary source of the rich iron ore deposits that—along with vast coal fields and abundant supplies of limestone—prompted the founding of Birmingham in 1871 as the first industrial city of the “New...
Red Mountain Park consists of 1,108 acres, stretching four-and-a-half miles between the cities of Homewood and Bessemer, along the ridges and hollows of the mountain from which it takes its name. Red Mountain was the primary source of the rich iron ore deposits that—along with vast coal fields and abundant supplies of limestone—prompted the founding of Birmingham in 1871 as the first industrial city of the “New South”.
Today, more than a generation removed from the closing of the last ore mine on its slope, Red Mountain is the site of one of the most ambitious, exciting and historically significant new park projects in America. When completed, Red Mountain Park will be the single largest linking of a park system that will give Birmingham more dedicated green space per capita than any city in the country. It will be a major regional and statewide attraction that will help to redefine the image of Birmingham and Jefferson County.
Red Mountain Park is nearing completion of its planning phase, with architectural plans being finalized and the site of the future visitor center being prepared for construction. Meanwhile, each of the historic mining structures on the site is being meticulously documented and preserved. Invasive plants are being cleared from the landscape to support the maintenance of native flora. Though Red Mountain Park is not yet open to the public, you can track the park’s progress by attending one of the several public tours of the property, or by calling to schedule a tour.
Red Mountain Park is owned and administered by the Red Mountain Greenway and Recreational Area Commission. The park’s operations are led by the Executive Director and supported by the Park Staff.
In addition, the park is supported by an active and growing volunteer organization, the Friends of Red Mountain Park. With more than 6,000 people connected by email and social media, this group provides support for various activities related to development of the park. Members of the organization assist with park tours, provide labor for the ongoing cleanups and preparation of trails and natural areas, and take opportunities to promote the park in their neighborhoods and various community venues.
The firm of Wallace, Roberts and Todd(WRT) is working with the board and executive leadership of Red Mountain Park to create a park experience that is unique and enjoyable for all visitors. The park will offer diverse opportunities for recreational use, appreciation of nature, and understanding of Birmingham’s iron ore mining history. Its four-level trail system will be interconnected via a series of loop trails, and will accommodate walkers, hikers, runners, and cyclists. The Master Plan incorporates several aspects of development including the following:
Heritage, which is being perpetuated through the preservation of historic mining structures, and through an oral history project that is capturing priceless personal stories of the park’s mining past.
Renewal, with the planned restoration and preservation of natural resources continuing the process that has gradually reclaimed Red Mountain from its mining days. Once toally stripped of trees and heavily graded to allow access to the iron ore beneath its surface, the mountain is rebounding to a healthy ecosystem; the plan for Red Mountain Park calls for reforestation, creation of meadows, removal of invasive species and safeguarding of the headwaters of the Black Warrior and Cahaba rivers.
Connections, which will be forged by Red Mountain Park’s status as a vital link between the past, present, and future of Birmingham. The park will be a major destination for family outings, school groups, history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts from throughout the Birmingham region and Alabama, as well as an attractive tourist stop. The park will also continue to work with other local nonprofit and civic organizations, neighborhood and community groups and interested individuals to be a point of convergence for building community.
Aesthetics, with development of the park being guided by design principles derived from the former mining structures that populate the site, as well as by the rich tradition of local folk art and a strong commitment to environmental stewardship.
Like major parks across America, including New York’s Central Park and Golden Gate Park in SanFrancisco, Red Mountain Park will be a long-term work in progress. It will be developed over a lengthy period, with plans adapted to changing conditions and public demand.
At the same time, Red Mountain will be like other major parks in that it will have a fundamental character defined by its unique place in the local community. It will have a range of essential uses that are central to its role in the Birmingham region, and which will be retained in perpetuity as the park’s core resources and visitor experiences. For more details about the development of Red Mountain Park, take a look at our Development Plan.
How You Can Help
From providing financial support to volunteering time, energy and ideas, there are a multitude of opportunities to contribute to the development of Red Mountain Park. To learn more about how you can help, visit our Support page.
Event Name: Red Mountain Park
Article: Revisiting Red Mountain Park: A huge park opens, but there’s more in store
WELD - Apr 24, 2012
By Madison Underwood
Three years ago, while writing for another weekly paper in Birmingham, I wrote a cover story called “A Peek Through the Privet.” It offered a preview of Red Mountain Park, then in early stages of development, and it opened like this: It has been 47 y… Expand
Three years ago, while writing for another weekly paper in Birmingham, I wrote a cover story called “A Peek Through the Privet.” It offered a preview of Red Mountain Park, then in early stages of development, and it opened like this: It has been 47 years since there’s been an active iron ore mine on Red Mountain, and in that time the Japanese privet has grown thick. When given time and a temperate Southern climate, the shrub — considered an invasive species — grows quite large. Together, the privet and the kudzu (that other Japanese plant plague) have nearly encased in a foliage veneer the mine entrances, rail beds and other remnants of a century of mining on the mountain. It has now been 50 years since there was mining on Red Mountain, but thanks to work by Red Mountain Park staff and loads of volunteer work by Friends of Red Mountain Park and others, much of the privet has been trimmed back and some of the park’s history — which, more than anything else, is also Birmingham’s history — has been laid bare. Collapse
Article: Alabama's Red Mountain Park plans to go public soon
The Birmingham News - Sep 25, 2011
By Thomas Spencer
Red Mountain Park is preparing to open more than 10 miles of unpaved trail that crisscrosses the ridges and valleys of the eastern half of the park property. The park's executive director, David Dionne, said no date has been set but he hopes to start… Expand
Red Mountain Park is preparing to open more than 10 miles of unpaved trail that crisscrosses the ridges and valleys of the eastern half of the park property. The park's executive director, David Dionne, said no date has been set but he hopes to start allowing public access to the property by late fall or winter.