DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge has some new improvements, that park rangers say to attract more visitors year-round.
On Wednesday, the City of Decatur and the Alabama Department of Fish & Wildlife cut the ribbon on a few of the new projects.
The first is a new trail that is open for hikers and bicyclists.
“Being out in nature is great for our health, and so we’re excited to provide a longer trail to get out into the woods and further out onto the shores of flint creek” said Park Ranger David Young.
The trail offers a round-trip hike of about five and a half miles.
“It’s an out-and-back trail, so you can choose how far you want to go before you turn back,” Young explained. “I did it on a bicycle a couple of weeks ago and it’s a real treat.”
The parking lot for the trail is directly to the left when you turn onto the road with the visitor center.
In addition to the new trail, a wildlife photography blind was constructed to give people a place to take pictures of the cranes.
“Picture a 30-foot building with small windows, where you can come and bring your camera, the birds can’t see you, but you can use that small window to get a better photo,” Young said.
The observation building also underwent a renovation.
Both the observation building and the photography blind are expected to be opened to the public on November 12.
Another project that is still in the works is an outdoor classroom. Park rangers say it will be great for the hundreds of kids that come through each year on trips.
The visitor center also underwent a big renovation. However, it is not quite ready to open. It will remain closed through the end of the year.
All of the projects and improvements were funded through $5.4 million in federal funding.