Fundamental resources and values help focus planning and management efforts on what is truly significant about the park. One of the most important responsibilities of NPS managers is to ensure the conservation and public enjoyment of those qualities that are essential (fundamental) to achieving the purpose of the park and maintaining its significance. If fundamental resources and values are allowed to deteriorate, the park purpose and/or significance could be jeopardized.
The following fundamental resources and values have been identified for Little River Canyon National Preserve:
The Little River
The high water quality along the 27 miles of the river's course supports a wide diversity of aquatic communities that include insects, fish, and vegetation, as well as a variety of recreational opportunities.
The Little River Canyon is one of the deepest and most extensive canyon systems in the southeastern United States, the largest in Alabama, and contains many waterfalls including Grace's High Falls, the state's tallest. This canyon system, carved out by the Little River, has created extraordinary and exceptional views of rugged rock outcroppings and the opportunity to look into the "belly" of Lookout Mountain. These views are enjoyed year-round by visitors and are exemplified at Wolf Creek, Canyon View, Crow Point, Eberhart Point, and Little River Falls overlooks.
The river and canyon have formed a wild and rugged landscape that allows for a range of peaceful and challenging recreational opportunities. The river supports world-class whitewater paddling and the canyon supports exceptional climbing opportunities. The opportunity for hiking, swimming, and fishing in natural areas away from city life are exemplified at Martha's Falls and Canyon Mouth.
Native Plants and Wildlife Communities
The preserve supports three globally rare and unique plant communities, one of which includes the largest number of federally protected populations of green pitcher plants. Another community includes Kral's water plantain, which only exists in two other watersheds in the world. The preserve also supports habitat for many federal and state listed species including bats, bears, and salamanders, as well as a number of endemic species, which are species found only in this localized area.
Backcountry Experience and Landscape
The backcountry area of the preserve is the largest public land area in northern Alabama available for hunting, fishing, and trapping. This quiet area of the preserve also provides opportunities for solitude as well as multiple types of recreation including horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, flatwater paddling, and jogging. The backcountry area of the preserve also protects important habitats and a watershed for wildlife,
flora, and humans alike.
OTHER IMPORTANT RESOURCES and VALUES