Graham Creek Nature Preserve
Size: 500 acres
Status: Master plan completed 2014; interpretive center completed 2016
The Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley, Alabama, encompasses nearly 500 acres of natural habitats, biking and hiking trails, disc golf course, kayak launch and an interpretive center featuring indigenous wildlife and plant life exhibits. In addition to the design and construction of the interpretive center, GMC created a master plan in 2014 to guide the development and preservation of the site. The four guiding principles of the master plan were the environment, recreation, education and economic opportunities that could produce revenue without adversely impacting the park’s ecosystems or nearby neighborhoods. One of the main goals of the project was to enhance connectivity across the site to provide visitor access to nature, while keeping the activities passive in nature as to minimize adverse impacts on vegetation and wildlife. A pine savannah was preserved in the northwest corner of the park to encourage pitcher plant bogs and to serve as a habitat for the endangered red cockaded woodpecker. Other general site improvements included pavilions and fencing throughout the park. The 5,700-sf interpretive center is a multipurpose facility housing offices and a laboratory for the environmental department, a large multi-function room and a nature center featuring indigenous wildlife and plant life exhibits. The nature center’s exposed structure and large windows create a seamless connection to the outdoors, and a large mural of Wolf Bay along the main wall, coupled with the life-size displays of land-dwelling and aquatic animals suspended from the ceiling maximize the visual experience in all three dimensions. A movable wall allows the multi-function room to be divided into two spaces, each with its own entry point. The Interpretive Center will also function as a venue for special events, and will be available for public rental. The City intends to utilize the deep covered porch, which wraps around three sides of the building, to house vendors throughout the year, with pedestals installed outside the building footprint to provide vendor trucks with access to power during these events. GMC provided architecture, landscape architecture, master planning, site design, geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, surveying and electrical engineering services.
Scope of Services