There’s a spot in Alabama where the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee and Blakeley rivers converge into the Mobile Bay, fusing freshwater and marine ecosystems. The state of Alabama created a remarkable facility, 5 Rivers, Alabama’s Delta Resource Center, in an effort to preserve the hundreds of plant and animal species and create a recreational paradise for its citizens.
5 Rivers attracts visitors for its wealth of activities in the 250,000+ acres of picturesque waterways, wetlands, and woods. In addition to outdoor activities like kayaking, canoeing, hiking, nature cruising, and birdwatching, the Center is also home to a beautiful theater, convention center, classrooms, exhibit hall and gift shop.
5 Rivers decided to build several new structures to maximize access to nature for its many visitors. They called upon Overseas Hardwoods Company to create beautiful, durable, and cost-effective walkways, piers, nesting platforms, and shelter platforms.
Weather in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta demands a high-performing wood. Summer temperatures can rise above 90 degrees, there’s plenty of precipitation, and the brackish water can be tough on wooden structures. The maintenance crew at 5 Rivers is all too familiar with continuous repairs and replacement of treated Pine. Ipe, a Brazilian hardwood species, was chosen for the new platforms, walkways and piers.
Ipe was the obvious choice for the 5 Rivers project. Ipe naturally resists rot and insects, requires little maintenance, and can last for 30 years. Besides these quantifiable advantages, Ipe also has a high aesthetic value, and it was important to enhance, rather than detract from, the natural beauty of the delta.
At first, the Ipe has a beautiful brown tone with amber and red hues, but as it ages, it develops a lovely silver-gray patina. If the original tone is preferred, a UV protectorate can be applied to keep the color.
OHC Ipe is the perfect wood species for the structures at this unique nature center. It’s a smart financial choice for a state-owned property, durable enough to withstand large groups of children on field trips, and beautiful enough to serve as the backdrop for an elegant delta wedding.