That's the state land preservation program that takes interest from the Alabama Trust Fund — set up with windfall money the state receives for offshore natural gas leases — and uses it to buy environmentally significant land that will be preserved for the enjoyment of all Alabamians.
While you are at it, give a vote of thanks to two of Calhoun County's own — then-U.S. Rep. Jim Campbell and U.S. Sen. Doug Ghee — for the work they did to bring this about.
Last week, Forever Wild bought more than 3,000 acres of Black Belt prairie in Dallas County, which adjoins the state historic site at Old Cahawba. It also bought another 1,343 acres in the Lowndes County Big Swamp Creek, which is hard against a wildlife management area there.
Under any circumstances, this page would applaud this purchase. Black Belt prairie is unique to the state and contains a wealth of flora and fauna to be studied and enjoyed. The same is true for Black Belt swamps, environmentally sensitive wetlands that nourish the region.
However, this purchase is all the more significant because it coincides with the development of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures. The program is promoting that economically depressed area as a place where "people from around the nation" can come to "hunt, fish, bird watch or simply ride horses" in beautiful country that abounds with game.
This purchase adds more than 4,000 acres to the land already available for public use in the region. And since the Forever Wild board is making a special effort to find suitable land in the central part of the state, more Black Belt land may be under consideration.
So far, nearly 150,000 acres have been bought statewide, all of it preserved for future generations. Let's hope that Alabama Black Belt Adventures sees this as we do, as a means of promoting a region battered by the recession and showing visitors what a beautiful state Alabama is.