Jerome Adams, affiliated with Exploring Alabama, wrote this brief description of his visit to Hurricane Creek on May 1, 2009. It was published in the Daily Planet. (Source)
Another local natural gem watched over by the ” Creek Keeper,” John Wathen and his friends is Hurricane Creek. A great amount of effort politically and environmentally has been expended in getting and keeping this stream free of chemicals, silt, trash, etc. Friends of Hurricane Creek fight ignorance, apathy, and greed constantly. They are ever vigilant of poorly planned road building, “development,” mining, and industries which may be necessary for humans but not at the expense of a natural, free flowing source of water for wildlife and a healthy ecosystem. Thousands of years before the intrusion of bipedal primates Hurricane Creek ran along its own path dictated by the arrangements of some of the last foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and finally flowing into the Black Warrior River.
The water of Hurricane Creek is refreshingly cold and clear running over a bed of gravel and sand and rocky shoals and between massive rock walls yet at some points having small sandy beaches along its way. At the bridge of Highway 216 toward Brookwood from Tuscaloosa the stream is wide and shallow. At the bridge at Holt- Peterson Road it is more narrow, deeper and shadier.
At 216’s bridge participants launched canoes and kayaks to begin a run, trash collection, and enjoyment of nature ending for most about four hours later at Holt- Peterson Bridge. Other volunteers gathered trash along roadsides near the bridges and along the banks of the stream.
Erin Wiggins was there to represent P.A.R.A. with iced down bottled water donated by Piggly Wiggly and some items to give away. Her companion was Henry, a friendly and well mannered basset hound she had rescued.
My good friends Randy McCredy and John Hall greeted me as I arrived at the pick up point (I drove). Randy is in charge of the summer expeditions through the Museum of Natural History of the U of A which this year will be in Washington County at St. Stevens, an abandoned town. John is the director of the Black Belt Museum at the University of West Alabama and who along with Beth Maynor Young have authored Headwaters: A Journey on Alabama Rivers full of beautiful photos and ample explanations.
I finally introduced myself to John Walthen, the Creek Keeper, who at the time was busy setting up his photo essay of the creek, other nature scenes and our recent visitors the Blue Angels at the camp site for the planned campout. He is pleasant, intelligent and full of creative and productive energy.
Years ago my wife, after taking a course, identified me as a “right brained” person and I felt that Saturday I was among a group of like minded creative folks. I wanted to quit my “left brained” job and stay and enjoy the campout and the association with others like myself. At work the rest of the day I could at least remember where I had been and the feeling of being at home there and some of the feeling remains as I compose this article.
Spring is a wonderful time for Exploring Alabama. There are so many interesting places and events! Hurricane Creek is a bright jewel in Alabama’s nature crown. Support for the Creek Keeper and his efforts are greatly encouraged.
Jerome Adams, Exploring Alabama