Engaging Public-Sector Partners


Duck River Reservoir Recreation Area

The Tim Scott Trail has a total length of 21.8 miles and includes two pedestrian bridges over the scenic Duck River.

The Tim Scott Trail is a single track, natural surface, multi-use trail that circles the newly constructed Duck River Reservoir in Cullman County, Alabama. Preservation of the natural beauty within the buffer zone surrounding this waterbody for the enjoyment of the community was a priority for those involved with the reservoir’s construction. With the assistance of funding from our nation’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP), the City of Cullman committed to provide access to the public with construction of the trail system, boat launches, a fishing pier and multiple trailhead parking areas.

The recreational area’s development has required a collaborative involvement by Cullman County, the City of Cullman, and the Cullman Utilities Board. The Utilities Board is the owner of the reservoir and its surrounding buffer zone which provided the site for the recreational area. However, the City and County have both individually filed as applicants for the RTP funding assistance on projects associated with the trail construction and pedestrian bridge construction. As noted previously, the City also provides management and maintenance of the trail system through their Parks and Recreation department.

The project was conceived as part of the development of a 600-acre water supply reservoir to serve Cullman County. With the primary objective to protect and ensure water quality, the reservoir’s permit required the preservation of an undeveloped buffer zone around its perimeter. This area of old growth forest, rolling terrain, and rocky streams has a minimum width of 100 feet from the lake’s full pool elevation. The guaranteed protection of this corridor through north Alabama wilderness alongside the shimmering lake provided an unmatched opportunity for construction of a low impact pedestrian and biking trail.

In an effort to jump start the trail’s construction, Cullman commenced with the first phase of the trail while completing the application for funding assistance from the RTP. This phase included 8.8 miles of single-track, natural surface trails constructed by the International Mountain Bike Association under contract with the Cullman Utilities Board. The design focused on creating access to the natural beauty of the area for all users. The comprehensive plan included multiple trail access points with ample parking for trail and reservoir recreational users.

With RTP assistance, three additional construction contracts were awarded for completion of the remaining 13 miles of trail surrounding the lake along with two pedestrian bridges over the Duck River. The upper bridge spans across the river at its discharge into the reservoir while the lower crosses the tailwater beneath the dam. Funding from the RTP amounted to approximately 40 percent of these projects’ construction costs.

The trail enjoys diverse usage by trail runners, bikers, and walkers. The reservoir’s recreational area, which includes boat ramp access and fishing piers, also caters to paddlers and fishermen. Additional RTP funding has been awarded for the construction of restroom facilities at the recreational area’s three trailheads.

More winners of this award

2021: Waterloo Valley Trail Bridge

2020: Maricopa Trail Volunteer Stewardship Program

2017: Rountree Branch Trail - Platteville, Wisconsin

2016: Eureka Trail - Tennessee