Field Trial Grounds being Developed in Alabama by Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
In the winter of 2005, Mr. Larry Dillard, Mr. Taylor Gilbert Mr. Roy Holliday, & Mr. Mel Stewart talked with Mr. M. Barnett Lawley, Commissioner, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources about a recreational facility for field trials in the State of Alabama. Thanks to the leadership of Mr. Lawley and the Forever Wild Land Trust that was created in 1992 to purchase and manage unique lands for public use, 3,800 acres of the Farquhar State Cattle Ranch was purchased from the Alabama Department of Corrections for the purpose of holding field trials. Located eight miles east of Greensboro in Hale County, the ranch has been a working prison farm since its purchase in 1940 by DOC, raising beef cattle and catfish. The State facility under DOC has received some limited public field trials use in past years, but now a direct effort is going forward to develop the grounds for field trials. Not only will the facility be available for beagle trials, but also retriever trials, bird dog trials, and others.
DCNR has formed a user group committee and had their first meeting recently to receive input from the various groups and to form a working relationship. The beagle community was represented by Larry Dillard, Taylor Gilbert and the bird dog was represented by Rick Stalling Dane Harris and Jerry Champion.
All cattle have been removed and an aggressive fescue grass eradication program has begun to allow the Black Belt native prairie grasses to return. Other management efforts will include removal of interior fencing. DOC and DCNR have a Memorandum of Understanding that will keep some inmates on the grounds for routine labor and management on the area. DCNR also announced that Mr. Bill Mason, DOC employee at the Alabama State Cattle Ranch, has been employed by the DCNR and will be the manger for the new field trial area. Bill’s experience with the area and with field trials will facilitate a smooth transition and be a great asset to us all.
The American Kennel Club appreciates the vision of the State of Alabama in creating the Forever Wild Land Trust and the leadership of Commissioner Lawley to spearhead this project and make it happen. Many generations of participants will benefit from their foresight.
Those interested in finding out more about the use of the property for dog related events may contact Mr. Lawley�s office at 334-242-3486, or contact Mr. Greg Lein at 334-353-7998 or Mr. Cris Smith at 334-242-3409. The mailing address for the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources is 64 North Union Street, Suite 468, Montgomery AL., 36130