Preserve Fragile Mountain Ecosystem

Target: Jefferson County Commission

Goal: To keep Shades Mountain in its natural condition.

Named for the creek that runs along its western border, Shades Mountain is an impressive cuesta in Jefferson County, Alabama. In 1925, a proposal was made by the widely acclaimed Olmstead Brothers that included Shades Mountain in a plan for protected parks within Birmingham and the surrounding area. Since that time the Appalachian forest along the mountain’s northwestern slope has remained the largest undeveloped urban forest in the entirety of Jefferson County. The unscathed forest also contains one of the county’s most impressive continuous flyways for many rare migratory birds and is a home to many important species of animals rarely seen outside of this forested area.

This pristine wilderness must be allowed to remain intact as it is far too valuable. The forest itself serves to protect homeowners in many of the surrounding areas from erosion, mudslides, and damaging storm water runoff. It also provides an estimated $1.5 million per year in averted air pollution by virtue of the dense forest’s air scrubbing capacity. This mountain also serves as an important barrier that helps protect Shades Creek, which is being put at risk by excessive development.

As an area of such great value and importance, Shades Mountain must be protected and preserved. Excessive development in the area can only harm the entire county. Any money gained from such projects would be overtly countered by the losses in property value for surrounding already-developed land as the aesthetic value of Shades Mountain is a tremendous selling point for many who have chosen to make the area their home. It is due to these factors that it simply makes sense to protect and preserve Shades Mountain.


Dear Commissioners of Jefferson County,

One of the greatest treasures this nation holds dear is a dedication to preserving its natural habitat. This commitment to the environment grows both more difficult and more important with each passing year, as businesses seek out untouched land with which to they can destroy to reap short-term profits. One of the great portions of unfettered wilderness resides along Shades Mountain, the cuesta in Jefferson County.

Shades Mountain’s most notable area rests along the northwestern slope where the largest undeveloped forest of Jefferson County has been allowed to remain almost entirely intact. This unscathed forest comprises one of the most impressive flyways for migratory birds and additionally provides a home to several unique species rarely seen beyond the confines of this specific arboreal region. This only begins to describe the value of allowing this forested region to remain intact. The area also serves an important protective mechanism, guarding surrounding homes and businesses from erosion, mudslides, and destructive storm water runoff. Citizens are protected in another way as well, by gaining improved air quality due to the air scrubbing capacities of the dense growth. This air cleaning capacity provides an estimated $1.5 million in averted air pollution every year. The forest protects more than Jefferson County citizens, however; it also acts to provide a barrier to excessive development along the adjacent Shades Creek which itself is extremely vulnerable.

Because of its great importance, no development can be allowed to mar the great beauty of Shades Mountain. With so much land falling prey to development interests, Shades Mountain must be allowed to remain intact and protected. This benefits all of Jefferson County, and is the right thing to do.


[Your Name Here]

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81 Signatures

  • Darlene Roepke
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