Dothan’s city officials made a wise decision years ago when, after decommissioning a wastewater treatment plant off Flowers Chapel Road in west Dothan, they investigated the possibility of transferring the land to the state’s Forever Wild land trust. When the dust settled, some 400 acres went into the trust to be managed by the city, and with the help of the Wiregrass Foundation, the property now contains some of the state’s finest wooded trails through a nature preserve.

This week, the City Commission accepted a $100,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to expand mountain-biking trails another 4 miles through the preserve, bringing the full length to 14.5 miles — or 29 miles, if one rides the trails in both directions.

“If you turn around, it’s a completely different trail,” said Kim Meeker, Dothan Leisure Services assistant director.

The Forever Wild Trails represent the positive result of forward thinking. Rather than leaving the decommissioned plant dormant and the property inactive behind a locked gate, the transformation into a nature preserve and public recreational area turned the property into a great asset for the city.

We applaud those leaders past and present for their foresight in creating another extraordinary outlet for residents’ leisure-time activities, and doing so in such a way that it drives tourism as well.

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