Southern Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Twisted trillium and rue anemone. Photo by Dagmar Thurmond.
Bent trillium and Allegheny spurge groundcover. Photo by Allison Cochran.
Bloodroot. Photo by Wildsouth.
Virginia Bluebells. Photo by Allison Cochran.
Flint Creek Botanical Area
Forest: National Forests in Alabama
District: Bankhead Ranger District
Description: The Flint Creek Botanical Area of the Bankhead National Forest includes a diverse assemblage of natural plant communities, including limestone rock outcrops, riparian areas, and limestone glades. This area has been studied and recognized by botanists and wildflower enthusiasts for several years. The Flint Creek Botanical Area follows the West Flint Creek drainage system, which is occupied by a rich herbaceous understory that includes numerous species of lilies and orchids. Soils of these alluvial bottomlands include a prader silt loam that is derived from sandstone, shale, and limestone. Hilltops are generally sandy and calcareous outcrops are present here and there. The diverse over story of the area varies greatly and conifer species present may range from shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata), to eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), to eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana). The deciduous forests contain over fifteen species of oaks and eight species of hickories. Cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata), big-leaf magnolia (M. macrophylla), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), beech (Fagus grandifolia), and white basswood (Tilia heterophylla) can be found interspersed throughout the area.
Wildflower viewing: Springtime offers an impressive variety of blooming wildflowers in the Flint Creek Botanical Area. Many species of trilliums (Trillium sp.), including Sweet Betsy (T. cuneatum), Twisted (T. stamineum), Bent (T. flexipes), and Lemon (T. luteum) trillium can be found flowering beginning in early March. Look for trout lilies (Erythronium americanum), sharp-lobed liverleaf (Hepatica acutiloba), and Rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) also during this time of year. Other species commonly observed in the Area include Virginia bluebells (Mertinsia virginica), Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadense), wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata), cranefly orchid (Tipularia discolor), puttyroot orchid (Aplectrum hyemale) and Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens).
Safety First: General outdoor safety guidelines apply for this part of the Bankhead National Forest. Watch out for venomous snakes and stinging insects in warm weather. There is plenty of uneven topography in the Flint Creek Area so watch your footing. Scattered natural snags (standing dead trees) are always present in the forests so keep an eye out for them, especially in windy conditions. If venturing far out into the Area take a map of the area or have a feel of where you are going so you can get back in time for supper.
Directions: The Bankhead Ranger District is located in Lawrence, Franklin and Winston Counties, Alabama. To visit the Flint Creek Botanical Area: From Birmingham, traveling north on I- 65, take the exit for AL-157 towards Moulton. Turn left (south) at Danville Road (CR 41) and continue approximately 4 miles and then turn right (west) on Forest Service Road 249 at the Cave Springs Cemetery. After about 3.5 miles take the right onto FSR 249V6, locally known as the Asherbraner Cemetery Road. This road ends at a good spot to access the Flint Creek Area. An old woods roads takes off from the turn-around on FS 249V6 and provides easy walking into the Area.
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Bankhead National Forest, Bankhead Ranger District.
Nearest Town: Moulton, Alabama.