News from the Tennessee Valley Living Today
FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2007
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Mountain Laurels bloom in the canyons of Alabama. In the Bankead National Forest, they overhang lower Caney Falls.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Mountain Laurels bloom in the canyons of Alabama. In the Bankead National Forest, they overhang lower Caney Falls.

Basking in
nature's glory

People from over the region
come to see forest's beauty

By Danielle Komis Palmer
dkomis@decaturdaily.com 340-2447

Seventy years ago, if you asked for directions to the nearby William B. Bankhead National Forest, you would have gotten a blank look.

Back then, it was still called the Black Warrior National Forest — that is, until an Act of Congress on June 17, 1942, changed the name to William B. Bankhead Forest.

So who was the man the man 180,000-acre forest was named after?

An attorney from Moscow, Ala., Bankhead became the 47th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1936. He was a member of the Democratic party.

He attended the University of Alabama and went on to attend Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C.

After his death in 1940, he was buried in Jasper.

Today, Bankhead Forest attracts people from all over the region who visit Bankhead and the Sipsey Wilderness Area located inside the forest for hiking, birding, horseback riding, biking, swimming, canoeing, and camping.

The forest boasts a variety of landscapes including dry ridges, bottomland hardwood areas and dark, narrow canyons with unique ecological communities. In spring, abundant wildflowers attract visitors to the forest.

This spring, however, camping in the forest carries one limitation - no campfires, due to the extreme drought.

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