In 1925 the nationally acclaimed Olmstead Brothers architects included Shades Mountain in their plan of proposed parks for Birmingham and the surrounding area. The steep Southern Appalachian mountain forest on the northwest slope of Shades Mountain is the largest remaining undeveloped urban forest in Jefferson County. This area contains the county's most spectacular continuous flyway for many rare birds and home to many wild animals. The forest cover saves the county an estimated $1.5 million per year in averted air pollution and storm water runoff. The forest cover helps protect Shades Creek from pollution.