In March 2017, Main Street Wetumpka was chosen as one of only 15 programs in five states to participate in a crowdfunding challenge hosted by the National Main Street Center. This process led to the creation of the Tulotoma Snail Trail, a cultivated place project using art to tell the community’s remarkable history, helping to enhance and improve the downtown Wetumpka experience.
Currently, the first "snail stop" on the trail has been completed. This “snail stop” is located at the Elmore County Museum, also known as the community’s former post office, and is dedicated to the history of Tulotoma magnifica. There are four different locations included in the first phase of the Tulotoma Snail Trail, with more expected throughout the coming years.
First described in 1834, the same year the city of Wetumpka was founded, Tulotoma magnifica is a live-bearing freshwater snail living in the Coosa River. This aquatic snail’s historic distribution was from Claiborne to Gadsden, Alabama. However, physical changes and pollution of both the Coosa River and Alabama River destroyed most of its habitat over the next 150 years.
Due to this habitat loss, the Tulotoma snail was subsequently listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 1991. Federal scientists recommended nearby hydroelectric dams increase water flow to better mimic the natural habitat of the snail. A flow restoration from nearby dams was completed shortly thereafter.
Because of said flow restoration and water quality improvements, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service downlisted Tulotoma magnifica to threatened, making it the first species of mollusk to recover from the brink of extinction due to rebounding populations. Tulotoma magnifica continues to be a protected animal and remains an important part of the area’s aquatic biodiversity.