An Urban Forest Built on Coal

Ruffner recently discovered that it has a German cousin in Rheinelbe, Germany! Starting in 1988, this old mining site was converted into wild urban forest by the government of Nordrhein Westfallen. Now, it continues to thrive as an urban green space where walkers, hikers, and children come to exercise, relax, or simply explore the wonders and beauty of this once blighted area. It's remarkable the similarities you can see between Ruffner's history and mission and that of our distant German relatives.

Our wildlife and green spaces are more important now than they have ever been. In a world of disconnection it is heartening and inspiring to see regular people across the globe fighting to preserve what is the right of every human being, everywhere: to connect with the beauty and quiet power of the natural world.


At some point in the past few days you may have come across clumps or strands of hair on the Ridge Valley Trail or the Crusher Trail. In fact, a number of you called or messaged us online wondering about this probably very weird-seeming occurrence and we appreciate your concern. So, what’s the deal? Well, last week Fresh Air Family held their “Prepared Not Scared” summer camp at Ruffner Mountain. Attendees picked up a whole slew of survival skills for the wild and for life, one of which was tracking, and in particular, tracking Bigfoot! Of course, we all know that Bigfoot sheds during the summer, hence the hair on the trail. So if you see any, don’t be alarmed. There is neither danger nor Bigfoot lurking over the next berm. We actually just discovered today how hairy things had gotten and we’re working to clean it up asap. In the meantime, enjoy the trails!

Nature Center Closed for the 4th

The Nature Center will be closed tomorrow for Independence Day, but our trails will be open from dawn to dusk. 

On a side note, we are always striving to make improvements to Ruffner Mountain and its facilities, and to that end we are currently in the process of getting the water fountains at the Back Porch back in working order. If you come to Ruffner tomorrow please be sure to bring plenty of water. We may have made our Brexit back 1776, but we're still being oppressed by this obscene Southern heat. Be a real American hero and stay hydrated. Happy Fourth of July from Ruffner!

New Project in the Works at Roebuck Springs!

"Permaculture: a system of cultivation intended to maintain permanent agriculture or horticulture by relying on renewable resources and a self-sustaining ecosystem."

Have we told you about the new Permaculture Garden we're hard at work on? No? Well, at our Roebuck Springs property (yes, Ruffner is that vast!) we are in the beginning stages of planting a new permaculture garden, installing recreation and play areas for children, pollinator habitats for native insects, fruit trees, and much, much more. About three months ago we began clearing the invasive species like privet, wisteria, and mimosa that had begun to threaten the ecological integrity, biodiversity, and overall beauty of the area, to make way for a brand-new trailhead and recreational portal to Ruffner. We couldn't be more excited! Check out the sketch above by our very own Jon Woolley to see what we mean, and stay tuned for more updates!