March 9, 2020 – CRATA recently completed the new donor recognition board and kiosk on top of Smith Mountain. We had hoped to have this completed at the time of the dedication for the Educational Signage Project in the fall of 2019, but there was a delay in getting the cast metal name plaques completed and delivered. We are happy to finally be able to fully recognize all of the donors and contributors for the Firetower Restoration and the Educational Signage Projects. Please take a look on your next trip to the top of the mountain and see all of the people and organizations responsible for making Smith Mountain the family outdoor destination it has become!

The CRATA volunteers working to complete the kiosk were Jerry Bynum, Jimmy Lanier, Harold Banks, Mike Wilson, Bill Garnett and Walt Hutcheson.

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                Yates Lake Trails Parking Lot

UPDATE: March 10, 2020 – The water level on Yates lake is still a little high, but the road and parking lot at our Yates Lake trails is dry and accessible to the public. Happy hiking!

UPDATE: March 5, 2020 – As the heavy rainfall continues, so does the flooding. Once again Martin Dam has been forced to open multiple gates to relieve rising waters above the dam and once again the parking lot at the Yates Lake trails, below the dam, is now under water. The lower portion of Goldmine Road and the parking lot are inaccessible to the public at this time. We will update the status for these trails on this blog as it changes.

UPDATE: February 23, 2020 – Both trails are now open to hike. Some areas may remain wet for a few days. Enjoy the hike and as always, let us know if you experience problems on our trails that we need to address.

UPDATE: February 21, 2020 – Goldmine Road and the Yates Lake trails parking lot are now accessible. Parts of the John B. Scott trail are still flooded near the shoreline of the lake. The Railroad trail is open to hike, but will still be wet and sloppy in some areas.

Due to heavy rains in Alabama during the past week, Alabama Power has been required to open additional gates at Martin Dam. The additional water released quickly into Yates Lake is causing flooding in many areas, especially close to the dam. The parking lot for the John B. Scott Forever Wild Trail and the Cherokee Ridge Dam Railroad Trail, and portions of the trails have flooded and are currently inaccessible. The shoreline part of Goldmine Road is under water and the public should avoid this area until further notice! With additional rain predicted for the area, this area may remain flooded for days. Please check back here on the news page for updates.

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      Dedication ceremony on Smith Mountain.

Project leaders, Harold Banks and Kenneth Boone

November 21, 2019

On Thursday, November 21, 2019, a dedication ceremony was held on top of Smith Mountain. CRATA friends, supporters and partners gathered to dedicate the educational signage project that was completed earlier this year. Funded by 200+ donors and a generous grant from the Recreational Trails Division of Alabama Department of Environment and Community Affairs, this project involved dozens of volunteers in research and implementation. Displays were professionally prepared by Southern Custom Exhibits located in Anniston, Alabama.

CRATA held the event to thank our supporters and partners that funded this project and worked many, many hours towards its completion. The names of the people that donated $100 or more to this project, along with our partners will be permanently displayed on cast metal plaques, located near the educational displays, on top of the mountain. 

With the completion of this project and combined with the historic fire lookout tower and hiking trails, Smith Mountain has become one of the best outdoor recreation/education destinations in Alabama and the Southeast.

Click here for additional details and display photos!

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On the 4th of November 2019, an entourage of CRATA directors and friends enjoyed a special visit to Flagg Mountain in Coosa County.  Flagg Mountain is the southernmost 1,000+ foot peak in the Appalachian Mountain range and the start of the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail.  In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps built a stone fire lookout tower and cabins.  Restoring this complex and making the grounds available for public use is a project of the Alabama Forestry Commission and the Alabama Hiking Trail Society.  Legendary long-distance hiker Sunny Eberhart, a/k/a Nimblewill Nomad is the full time caretaker and lives in one of the CCC cabins.

Contact the Pinhoti Outdoor Center on Flagg Mountain for more information on this wonderful Alabama outdoor destination.

Phone: (205) 202-9525  Email: pinhotioutdoorcenter@gmail.com

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Jim Scott may be most widely known for his fabulous gardens that are often featured in magazines and TV shows.  But he is also a wonderful fan of CRATA.  He has provided significant financial support, land, and use of his gardening personnel and equipment to enhance our trails.  The weather cooperated long enough this afternoon for a dedication ceremony, naming the James M. Scott Deadening Alpine Trail in his honor.  Jim is on the left beside his equally famous older brother John B. Scott.

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