Graham Marsh Nature Preserve now open to public

Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 5:55 PM CST
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LISMAN, Ala. (WTOK) - The 20 acred Graham Marsh Nature Preserve finally opened its gates to the public Friday for people to use for walks, hiking, and educational purposes.

The preserve is located in Marshtown in Lisman, Alabama. The Graham Marsh Nature Preserve is the first of its kind and only the second nature preserve in the southeastern United States, owned and operated by a family.

“We want to give something back to Choctaw County. As you know, the county is poor economically. It is our way of giving something back to Choctaw County and this community,” said the owner of the preserve Tony Graham.

This land has been part of this family for over 100 years - passed down from one generation to another.

“My grandmother is here. This land was given to her by her grandfather Lonnie Marsh and her father Justin Marsh. She is 81 years old. She is the matriarch of our family. She has always instilled in us the importance of preserving land, agriculture, and nature. We want to make sure that the community has access to that type of information because it is really important. The land is really important to preserve in this family,” said family member Toni Graham.

Taylor Graham Thornton is the daughter of Tony Graham. With her expertise in Environmental Science and Wildlife, she became Mr. Graham’s consultant to help preserve the land.

“I supervise two nature preserves in South Florida. I will be applying that experience by giving my father advice on how to preserve the land. How to enhance the areas, habitat for wildlife, and the different ecosystems,” said Taylor.

Mr. Graham gives a list of all the things people can use the land for.

" We have a walking trail, so there’s a health component. We have trees on this land that are more than 100 years old. There’s a science STEM component to it. In addition to that, we can have people come out for family reunions, class reunions, and barbeques. I even had somebody that called me to ask if I can have a wedding on the preserve – of course. It’s open to the public,” said Tony.

The Graham Marsh Nature Preserve is 100% privately funded and developed by The Graham Family.