WELP is currently operated from a 2-story cabin that is situated in front of Big Spring Creek, a tributary to Guntersville Lake. The cabin can house up to 15 people in the upstairs level, which includes bunk beds and a bathroom to accommodate those residing in it. The first floor has a full kitchen that allows us to prepare meals and includes a second bathroom as well as an open area for the indoor classroom setting.
The property is nestled in the hillside off of highway 79 in Guntersville, Alabama, and is surrounded by diverse habitat types including a mixture of open field and forest upland areas, as well as several streams and wetlands. The diverse scenery surrounding the cabin is a supplemental classroom that allows us to provide visitors with hands-on experience with various outdoor activities. A large focus of our programs encourage participants to learn from, enjoy, and familiarize themselves with nature through the variety of programs offered.
A unique feature of the property includes the planned development of a mitigation bank to restore and improve several wetlands and streams on-site, including instream and riparian enhancement along Big Spring Creek. Although the bank is still in the preparation stage, the surrounding area will eventually contain a restored, preserved landscape that will not only support local wildlife populations, but will be used to offset potential adverse impacts resulting from development within the watershed. For more information on the Big Spring Mitigation Project, please visit our project page.
In order to accommodate more visitors, we are planning to build three additional cabins, allowing us to use the existing cabin as a dining and classroom facility. The cabins will also become a part of the learning experience as they will be sustainable units that use renewable energy and have a minimal impact on the environment. After the wetland mitigation project is complete and the wetlands have been restored on the property, we plan to replace our current facility with a visitors center that overlooks the property.