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Alabama Forestry Commission turns 100

Last week Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) hosted a legislative reception at the Governor's Mansion to celebrate 100 years of sound forest management by the Alabama Forestry Commission.

The Governor and Legislature commemorated the generations of men and women who have made it their mission to protect and sustain all 23.1 million acres of the state's forests over the last century.

"We express our gratitude to Governor Ivey, our sponsors, and everyone that made last night an evening to remember," the Alabama Forestry Commission wrote on their Facebook page. "Here's to 100 more years of carrying out our mission!"

Economic Developer Dr. Nicole Jones Wadsworth told the Alabama Gazette, "Alabama has almost 23 million acres of forested land. Put into perspective that is more than the combined land area of Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The American Forest and Paper Association reported that Alabama's total value of manufactured forest products exceeds $12.5 billion annually. Over 110 manufacturing facilities including sawmills, paper mills, and other production sites exist throughout our state. The Alabama Forestry Commission protects our state's dominant industry by maintaining a vital habitat for native plants and wildlife, responding to emergencies, and educating the public, which helps create an environment where landowners and businesses can generate income from forest and paper products."

A painting of the historic fire tower at Flagg Mountain, painted by Timothy Joe, was presented to the people of Alabama and Governor Kay Ivey in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Alabama Forestry Commission.

The fire tower sits atop the southernmost peak of the Appalachians, Flagg Mountain. The lookout tower was used for decades by the AFC to spot wildfires. After the agency began utilizing aircraft for fire detection, the tower was decommissioned in 1989. It eventually fell into disrepair and was closed. With assistance from the Alabama Legislature, local volunteers, and many private donors, the AFC began refurbishing the tower in 2021 so the public could once again enjoy this piece of the state's history. On June 15, 2022, Gov. Ivey and State Forester Rick Oates reopened & rededicated the tower to the citizens of Alabama. Today, Flagg Mountain tower stands as a tribute, not only to the young men who built it, but also to those who served by providing protection of Alabama's forests. The frame holding this painting was handcrafted by Jimmy Dollar from wood that was milled from one of Flagg Mountain's old-growth longleaf pines.

With 72% of the state of Alabama in forests dealing with forest fires as early as possible not only protects the billions of dollars in timber assets in the state, but it also protects Alabama homes and lives. Alabama's forests also trap tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year trapping the carbon as the tree grows and slowing the effects of global warming.

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