Ruffner Mountain Park
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|Ruffner Mountain Park|
The Quarry at Ruffner Mountain Nature Center
|Location||Jefferson County, Alabama|
|Nearest city||Birmingham, Alabama|
|Area||1,011 acres (4 km2)|
Ruffner Mountain Nature Center is a 1,011 acres (4 km2) nature preserve located in the eastern portions of Jefferson County, Alabama near Birmingham's suburb, Irondale. The preserve includes a visitor center containing native Alabama animals including raptors, snakes, turtles and owls.  The Ruffner Mountain area was home to iron ore mines and stone quarries, supplying the area's steel mills. When the mines played out in the 1950s, nature reclaimed the area. The Trust for Public Land added over 500 acres (2.0 km2) to the park from 1983-1985, and an additional 400 acres (1.6 km2) in 2000.
The preserve contains 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails.
In 2010, construction was completed on RMNC's state-of-the-art LEED certified Treetop Visitor's Center and Education Pavilion. The new 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) nature center replaced the organization's old administrative office building, visitor's center, and pavilion. The contractor, Stewart Perry, Inc., and architect, KPS Group, designed a building using sustainable architecture and materials ranging from a rainwater collection system to a myriad of recycled building materials and furnishings.
In 2006 Ruffner Mountain Nature Center announced plans to expand the park by 500 to 700 acres (2.8 km2) at a cost of around $11 million. The addition would make Ruffner Mountain's nature preserve one of America's largest urban nature preserves at around 1,511 to 1,711 acres (7 km2).
- About Ruffner Mountain Nature Center. Ruffner Mountain Nature Center website.
- History of Ruffner Mountain Nature Center Encyclopedia of Alabama website.
- Planning Your Visit. Ruffner Mountain Nature Center website.
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