City Of Huntsville

Hays Preserve Web Site

From the City Web Site:

"The Hays Nature Preserve and the Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary provide environmental education and non-consumptive recreation while preserving the important and vanishing ecosystems with which they have been entrusted. The Preserve and the Sanctuary protect 1000 acres of bottomlands along the Flint River in Eastern Madison County. Observe the slide show about the Preserve and Sanctuary. The Goldsmith Schiffman is an incredible asset to open space protection in Madison County. It and the adjacent Ellet donation form about 400 acres of swamp, ponds, and bottomlands. One of the most prominent critters there is beaver, but there are also many deer, wild turkeys, and hundreds of water fowl. Meadow inhabitants abound and hawks nest along the edge of the clearings. The Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary is not open as yet, but the City Ecologist leads special hikes there. Observe the video to get a feel for its uniqueness and the benefactress that donated it."

A very enjoyable and convenient place to visit. Enough trails to walk as long as you like. Very pretty scenery along the Flint River and Cove Creek with the Tupelo Gum trees. A good place for off-road and street bikes as there is a paved greenway all the way up to Hampton Cove shopping center. The Hays trail system is essentially laid out in two almost isolated parts. The only connection between the front and back parts (without bushwhacking) is by way of the Cove Creek ford crossing at the northern end. The back part consists of a maze of trails with imaginative signage, all interesting. There are encounters with bridges, ponds and occasional glimpses of the golf course. And finally, the original purpose of the page -- wildflowers. The Lobelia plants like the low ground. The most prominent is the Cardinal Flower, Cardinal (Lobelia cardinalis). This plant is even growing in the ditches of the entrance road. Another Lobelia present at Hays is the Great Blue Lobelia -(Lobelia siphilitica). Passion flowers and Ironweed are also colorful decorations on the back trails. Mosquitos can be a problem in summer so bring bug spray. The Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary with another trail system will extend the recreational and preservation activities offered by the City. The land donors, the City, and Staff are commended for making this fine resource available to the public, and for providing periodic educational tours and nature outings.

Only a few wildflower pics to show. Recent time at the preserve was utilised on mapping the trails and helping grand kids learn to ride bikes on the greenway. Year 2006 will provide another opportunity for photography. --- N.W.

Trail Map... Photos With Flowering Date... General Trail Listing