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Racing For Wildlife Project in Talladega

September 10, 2009 | The Conservation Fund | Talladega, AL


Vanessa Vaughan
The Conservation Fund


NASCAR Favorites Ryan Newman and Bobby Allison Join The Conservation Fund to Announce Racing For Wildlife Project in Talladega

Project protects wildlife habitat, provides recreational opportunities for race fans April 25, 2008

Talladega, AL - Today, The Conservation Fund joined with Ryan Newman, driver of Penske Racing's #12 Alltel Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and NASCAR legend Bobby Allison to announce the second Racing for Wildlife project: the protection of more than 1,100 acres in the Talladega National Forest.

Racing for Wildlife unites the sports community with passionate land and water conservationists across the country. The Conservation Fund and the Ryan Newman Foundation launched the program last year to begin building an American land legacy for generations of sports enthusiasts who share Newman's love of the outdoors. Michigan International Speedway provided inaugural support for Racing for Wildlife's first project at Mill Lake in southern Michigan.

"I've met a lot of NASCAR fans who are avid fisherman like me," said Newman. "And they know how important it is to protect the beautiful land and water that we enjoy today so our grandchildren can enjoy it in the future."

Racing for Wildlife's new project will protect prime land for hiking, camping and recreation, just a short drive from Talladega Superspeedway, in the Talladega National Forest. The effort will complete the protection of the eight-mile crest of Rebecca Mountain, a major ridge in the Appalachian Mountains, and allow the U.S. Forest Service to complete a portion of the Pinhoti Trail, which connects Rebecca Mountain to the popular Appalachian National Scenic Trail in Georgia.

The Conservation Fund is working with the U.S. Forest Service to raise the funds needed to acquire the property. In a critical step forward, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Alabama's congressional delegation have already secured $738,000 from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. From private donors, The Conservation Fund now seeks to raise an additional $550,000.

"Alabama's national forests offer beautiful views and are home to diverse species of wildlife that are enjoyed year round by visitors from Alabama and across the country," said U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). "I was proud to play a role in the continued protection and preservation of our wildlife and natural resources." Sen. Shelby serves on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which provides funds for the U.S. Forest Service.

"From the foothills of the Appalachians in North Alabama to the beaches of the Gulf Coast, Alabama is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that continue to be an important part of our southern culture," said U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. "It's hard to imagine an Alabama without thick woods for fathers and sons to camp, freshwater streams for families to fish or wild lands for Saturday afternoon hikes together."

Sen. Sessions also added, "We've done much to preserve Alabama's resources, conserving sensitive acres in places like Mt. Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge, Little River Canyon, and the Cahaba River. Still, there is more to be done, and I applaud the Conservation Fund, the Ryan Newman Foundation and the Racing for Wildlife program for moving ahead with efforts to conserve over 1,000 acres of Rebecca Mountain near the Talladega National Forest, including an important stretch of land on the Pinhoti Trail. Future generations of Alabamians will undoubtedly benefit from these important conservation efforts."

"Alabama's national forests are a treasure for all our citizens, and I am proud to support efforts that help protect and preserve our natural resources for generations to come," said U.S. Rep Mike Rogers (R-AL), whose district includes Talladega.

The project has received the support of NASCAR legend Bobby Allison, a long-time resident of Alabama and four-time winner at Talladega Superspeedway. "I applaud Ryan's commitment to the outdoors and to protecting places for the public to use and enjoy," said Allison. "I'm thrilled that he has chosen Talladega as the site for the second Racing for Wildlife project and I hope that race fans will get involved in protecting this property on Rebecca Mountain."

"I'm honored to work once again with Ryan Newman and also with legendary driver Bobby Allison, who is no stranger to Talladega," said Rex Boner, vice president and southeast representative for The Conservation Fund. "We are grateful for their dedication to providing places where the youth of today and tomorrow can connect with nature. Stay tuned for more Racing for Wildlife projects coming soon to a track near you."

Over time, Racing for Wildlife will pursue new conservation projects that offer recreational opportunities near urban areas, so families can easily enjoy the outdoors in protected places. In selecting conservation projects, Racing for Wildlife will work with local land conservation groups and public agencies to find opportunities that both fulfill state-recognized conservation priorities and invite a new generation to experience the outdoors. Racing for Wildlife's first project, still ongoing, is the restoration of the Mill Lake Youth Camp, a historic camp near the Michigan International Speedway that will reopen to families, focusing on youth activities, family events and individual use.

To learn more about Racing for Wildlife or to make a donation, visit

About the Ryan Newman Foundation

The Ryan Newman Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonrofit organization, which was established in January 2005 by NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and his wife, Krissie. The mission of the foundation is to educate and encourage people to spay/neuter their pets and to adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters; to educate children and adults about the importance of conservation so the beauty of the great outdoors can be appreciated by future generations; and to provide college scholarship funding through the Rich Vogler Scholarship program to students interested in auto racing careers. The Ryan Newman Foundation is proud to be supported by the NASCAR Foundation.

About The Conservation Fund

The Conservation Fund is dedicated to advancing America's land and water legacy. With our partners, we conserve land, train leaders and invest in conservation at home. Since 1985, we have helped protect more than 6 million acres, sustaining wild havens, working lands and vibrant communities. We're a top-ranked conservation organization, effective and efficient.

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