Blue Springs Nature Preserve consists of a 147-acre parcel of land in Ragland provided by National Cement that will serve in perpetuity as a public nature preserve.
The site is located near the junction of Trout Creek and Blues Springs Fork and includes pastures, wetlands and heavily-wooded areas.
In 2006, a charrette was conducted with the Blue Springs Nature Preserve Steering Committee to develop a master plan for Blue Springs. The resulting plan proposes the following features:
- Highway 144 Entrance - a dedicated access point to Blue Springs, with a parking lot and transportation by tram into Blue Springs.
- Alabama Wildflower Gardens - Located near an old farm pond, an outdoor arboretum showcases native plants, such as the endangered Alabama Leatherflower. A visitor center will include weather-protected exhibit space, a greenhouse, public restrooms, with outdoor gathering spaces for self-guided tours.
- Cultural Preservation Building - Visitors can relive the history of St. Clair County through artifacts and exhibits, such as a cotton gin from the Civil War Era.
- Spencer’s Bluff - An elevated knoll over looking the lake near the tram route, this feature provides an optimum location for picnics and resting, with a covered pavilion, restrooms and drinking fountains.
- Visitor’s Facilities - Atop the knoll along the ridge line rest the principal buildings, such as the education center, administrative offices and classrooms.
- Prairie, Wildflower and Ridge areas - Visitors can explore Blue Springs through a network of trails, which provide access to scenic overlooks and streamside greenways, as well as wetlands and prairies, restored to their original state.
- Trout Creek Crossing - A boardwalk provides an up-close view of the rivers and wetlands, an ideal venue for first-hand outdoor education.
- Primitive Campgrounds - In the preserve’s wooded areas, visitors have the opportunity or camping in a rustic setting.
- Future phases include a dormitory, kitchen facilities and a conference center.