Trail System Offers Expanded Access to Mobile-Tensaw Delta
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) State Lands Division has opened a multi-use trail system at the Forever Wild Jacinto Port Tract near Saraland, Ala., in Mobile County. The Jacinto Port Tract is part of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the second largest delta in the United States and home to some of the most biologically diverse habitat in Alabama. For example, the Delta is home to hundreds of plants and animal species several of which can be found along the Jacinto Port trails.
The Jacinto Port trail system is comprised of six trails with a combined length of approximately 7.5 miles. The individual trails are: the Longleaf Trail, 2.9 miles; Brickport Trail, 1.15 miles; Northridge Trail, 1 mile; Turkey Cutoff Trail, 1 mile; Furnace Hill Trail, .4 mile; and the Bayou Sara Loop Trail, 1 mile.
Beginning in 2013, the trails will open seasonally from May 1 through September 15 to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Jacinto Port is part of the Alabama Division Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries’ Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system, and users of the trail must have a WMA license and WMA area permit in order to take advantage of the trails. WMA Licenses ($16.70, annually) and WMA area permits (free) are available online at www.outdooralabama.com.
The trail system crosses sandhill longleaf pine, slash pine, and hardwood habitat as well as a few unnamed tributaries. Three overlooks provide trail users with views of Bayou Sara and the surrounding Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Wildlife is abundant along the trails and the birding is excellent so don’t forget to bring a camera. Two species of kite, swallow-tailed and Mississippi, can be seen throughout the trail system. Other birds common to the area include: prothonotary warbler, Northern parula, great egret, little blue heron, yellow-crowned night heron, Eastern kingbird, indigo bunting, blue grosbeak, summer tanager, common yellowthroat, Northern bobwhite and yellow-breasted chat.
The trails also pass through historically significant areas where bricks made from locally sourced clay were transported throughout the region via Bayou Sara (possibly Civil War-era and earlier). Remnants of the brickmaking facilities and the bricks can still be found along the trail. A campsite is also available at one of the overlooks along the Bayou Sara Loop. The campsite is first-come,-first-served. Campers are encouraged to Leave No Trace and let someone know where and when they will be staying overnight on the trail.
In addition to the trails, Jacinto Port provides access to the waterways in the upper reaches of the Delta via the Bartram Canoe Trail. Day and overnight trips with access to floating-camping platforms are available. Jacinto Port is also open to hunting when in season. All hunting season(s) rules and regulations apply.
Directions to the Jacinto Port parking lot: From Mobile, travel US Highway 43 North for approximately 4 miles. Turn right onto Station Avenue. The parking lot is on the left.
Parking Lot Coordinates:
For more information about the Forever Wild Jacinto Port Tract and its outdoor opportunities, visit www.outdooralabama.com.
Logo courtesy Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources