HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Land Trust of North Alabama preserves more than 9,000 acres of land, meaning those parcels are forever protected from being developed. Their latest project is nearly 100 acres on Chapman Mountain.

The group raised $370,000 in three months from more than 470 donors. Development Director Hallie Porter said they were thrilled to see they had the money to purchase 92 acres.

“This particular parcel was so important because it completed this entire preserve. It was the last piece that wasn’t preserved or protected,” Porter told News 19.

These final donations, coming in just days before their May 15th deadline. “For other people, it doesn’t seem that long, for us, it seems like a long haul,” she said.

One of the biggest challenges for them right now is the growth Huntsville is experiencing, and the need to raise the money quickly in order to be able to purchase it, Porter said.

With how quickly land gets developed in the area, Porter said each day without those funds built pressure.

“Development is great, it keeps our economy vibrant, but we have to be able to preserve in conjunction with that and balance that out,” she said.

The total preserved acreage for Chapman Mountain is now 551 acres.

“That gives plenty of room for animals to be able to flourish, but it also gives room for us to add additional trails. We have found through COVID more people than ever before have been exploring the outdoors and since this is centrally located, it has become a huge recreation preserve,” she said.

The next steps are closing on the property, then surveying which plants and animals need protection. Then, surveying for the area’s next set of trails.