EDUCATE. ENRICH. EMPOWER.


Rock Fence is dedicated to educating, enriching, and empowering military veterans and their families through engagement with nature and hands-on learning about conservation. Our goal is to help restore the kinships affected during times of absence while serving.

The 450+ acre Rock Fence property in Chambers County, Alabama consists of diverse wildlife habitats, 14 wildlife plots, a fishing pond, a trap and skeet range and shooting range, a hunting lodge (a relic from the 80s, when the property was a private hunting preserve), dog kennels, quail hatcheries, and miles of trails through hardwood forests.

Rock Fence is a place of hope and healing. Research has demonstrated that the health benefits of spending time in nature include reduced stress, better sleep, reduced depression and anxiety, greater happiness, a sense of well-being and life satisfaction, reduced aggression, enhanced social connectedness, improved postoperative recovery, and improved pain control. These benefits are especially important for military veterans and their families, many of whom struggle in these areas. We are humbled and grateful to be able to serve veterans from all walks of life and from all over the U.S. through our Rock Fence programs.

History


The name "Rock Fence" originated from a historic dam on the property that was constructed of stones stacked 12 feet tall on a granite shoal across an unnamed stream. In 1984, the site became a private hunting preserve, and a 20,000-square-foot lodge was built with repurposed railroad cars. Soon, the nearby town was called Rock Fence after the property. The local community of Five Points, Alabama used the lodge and property for events like high school proms and graduations. Locals will tell you that the property has always been known for its uniqueness and diverse wildlife.

In 2018, the property was owned by a private real estate partnership. The property still contained the diverse natural resources and wildlife habitats that the locals remember - including forests, wetlands, shoal, savannah, and a lake. Conserving the property would serve policy objectives the Alabama State Wildlife Action Plan, the Mobile River Basin Recovery Plan, and the Tallapoosa River Basin Management Plan. The Barn Group land trust was brought in to help arrange a conservation easement for the property.

When we looked at this sizable property that was home to so many beautiful creatures and filled with breathtaking views, we recognized its potential to be a place of hope and healing for public benefit. We imagined the respite and solace that the property could provide to military veterans and their families. With the support of the property owner, later that year, The Barn Group’s Rock Fence veteran initiative was born.

The Barn Group helped the partnership develop a plan for a conservation easement donation to protect the land’s ecological functions while also providing benefits for the partnership and the community.

The easement helped achieve important goals for all stakeholders: 

  • Protect the idyllic qualities of the property’s woodlands, wetlands, streams, lake, and open fields. 
  • Protect forest resources through strict adherence to best management practices and limited harvest. 
  • Prohibit any future conversion of the natural resources to development. 
  • Allow The Barn Group to serve military veterans and their families through nature-based activities, programs, and events.

Before the ink was dry on the easement, Rock Fence was hosting its first event for veterans and their families in _____. The Wounded Warrior Project, a national nonprofit working to help wounded veterans, immediately recognized Rock Fence as a source of respite and healing for their members. Heroes from WWP were the first to use Rock Fence programs and land for inspiration and healing. We have also partnered with American Military Family - Got Your Six, a Colorado-based initiative specializing in suicide prevention.

Through the generosity of our supporters and partners, the gates of Rock Fence have flung wide open for our community of veterans and their loved ones. In acknowledgment of the sacrifices of those veterans and their families, we happily share what is protected forever and what Rock Fence has been granted stewardship over.