1991 – The Bankhead Monitor incorporated in October 1991 under the leadership of Executive Director Lamar Marshall. 1993 – Bankhead Monitor files a legal challenge against the U. S. Forest Service for violations of the Endangered Species Act, NEPA, the Wilderness Act and other federal laws. Judge dismisses the suit on the grounds that the Bankhead Monitor failed to jump through legal hoops unknown to the organization. The case was therefore taken before the people. The American public overwhelmingly decides that the corporate plundering of their public lands would not be tolerated. 1994 – Bankhead Monitor launches the Bankhead Watershed Project, contracting with scientists to study the impacts of clearcutting on the soils and watersheds of Bankhead National Forest. Public demand leads to an expansion of state-wide work and the name was changed to Wild Alabama. 1996 - Continued destruction of sacred and cultural areas in the Bankhead National Forest calls for the Native American protest at Oakville Indian Mounds. A moratorium is placed on 18,000 acres of public lands by Regional Forester Bob Joslin. These areas become permanently protected in new forest plans. 2000 – Wild Alabama is heavily involved in commenting on and participating in the development of new forest plans developed by the U. S. Forest Service through the NEPA process. This process spans ten years from 1994 to 2004. 2004 - The new Land and Resource Management Plan is released by the U. S. Forest Service. By 2004, regional work mandated the name change to Wild South. The expansion and new partnerships lead to new alliances across the South. The national forests in Alabama are to be restored to native forest communities. Indian Tomb Hollow, High Town Path Historic District and Kinlock Historic District are managed as cultural heritage sites. The Flint Creek Botanical Area is designated. Wild South is an active member of the newly formed Bankhead Liaison Panel and remains so until the present time. Wild South begins the Canyon Mapping Program and canyon prescriptions are developed for these unique geological areas. 2005 – Helping Hands Volunteer Program is formed. 2006 – Wild South and Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project partner with Blowing Rock (North Carolina) Town Council to propose the Grandfather National Scenic Area in order to protect the Globe Forest and surrounding viewshed in perpetuity. 2007 – With a shared vision for our native forest ecosystems and public lands, Wild South and Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project (SABP) merge, combining forces to create one organization. The administrative office of the new Wild South is moved to Asheville, North Carolina. Tracy Davids, former Executive Director of SABP, becomes the Executive Director of Wild South. 2010-2011 – Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program is developed and initiated to train Wilderness Rangers to serve in Sipsey, Cheaha and Dugger Mountain Wilderness areas. 2012 – Kill The Drill campaign stops the sale of oil and gas leases in the Talladega National Forest. 2013 – Tracy Davids resigns as Executive Director. Joe Shellnutt becomes interim E. D. 2014-2016 – Pat Byington is Executive Director 2016 – Kevin Massey becomes Executive Director. 2008-2020 – Through its strong programs and robust volunteer participation, Wild South carries out its mission of inspiring people to enjoy, value and protect the native eco-systems of the Southeast. 2020 – The Wild South Board of Directors, Executive Director and staff work together to restructure the organization and form the new independent Wild Alabama, to continue and grow the work of protection on public lands and Wilderness areas in Alabama. Wild South remains the vigilant protector of national forests and the Linville Gorge Wilderness in North Carolina. 2021 – Wild Alabama is launched on January 1, 2021 with Maggie Johnston as Executive Director.
Season 2 of PRESENT TENSE podcast, hosted by Anne Markham Bailey, is an excellent resource for learning about the history of Alabama wilderness. Our very own Education and Outreach Coordinator, Janice Barrett, is a featured guest! Check it out on Spotify or Apple Podcasts below.
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