Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge is located in Calhoun County in northeastern Alabama. It is contiguous to the city of Anniston and lies approximately 65 miles east of Birmingham and 90 miles west of Atlanta. The 7,759 acre refuge was legislatively established on May 31, 2003 within the former military training base of Fort McClellan. On October 23, 2003, an additional 1,257 acres were contributed by the JPA for the current total of 9,016 acres.
As part of the base closure process, the Army is surveying and characterizing all training lands for potential presence of unexploded ordinance (UXO) and other environmental concerns. Within the legislative transfer of land to the Service, stipulations were made that the Army remains responsible for the remediation of all UXO within the refuge. The removal of the UXO is still ongoing, so you will likely see many contractors out while driving on the refuge. The area to the west of Ridge Road is closed to the public, which is about two-thirds of the refuge. Area closed signs are clearly posted and easy to find along the boundary of the closed areas. When UXO cleanup is completed in the years to come, the rest of the refuge will be opened up to the public.
The primary objective of the refuge is to maintain and restore a naturally regenerating mountain longleaf pine ecosystem along with providing educators, research scientists, and the public a broad range of opportunities to appreciate and enjoy a rare southern forest type.
The secondary objective is to enhance, manage, and protect the unique mountain longleaf pine ecosystem on the property in a manner that conserves and enhances populations of fish, wildlife, and plants in the refuge. This includes migratory birds and species that are threatened or endangered with particular emphasis on the protection of the montane longleaf pine ecosystem. In coordination with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, we provide the public with recreational opportunities including hunting, wildlife observation, and photography. The station also provides opportunities for scientific research and education on land use and environmental law and is consistent with environmental restoration efforts conducted by the Secretary of the Army on the refuge or on lands adjacent to the Refuge.
The refuge resides within the former military training base of Fort McClellan. Originally, Fort McClellan was named Camp Shipp in 1898, during the Spanish-American war. It wasn't until later that it changed to Camp McClellan. Throughout history Fort McClellan was home to a couple of different establishments including Military Police Corps and Chemical Corps. During World War Two, it was one of the largest US Army Installations training nearly half-million troops. The facility closed in 1995 after the Base Realignment and closure voted to close it down.
Other Facilities in this Complex
Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge Complex.