Alabama State Parks Celebrate 75 Years

From the beaches of the Gulf Coast to the Appalachian foothills, Alabama State Parks reflect every facet of the state’s rich natural landscape and in 2014 the state’s park system will celebrate a milestone—its 75th anniversary.

Gulf State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gulf State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The parks system preserves some of the most magical wonders of the state, such as Oak Mountain, Monte Sano, Cathedral Caverns, Guntersville, Wind Creek, DeSoto, and Gulf Coast.

Throughout the year, Alabama’s 22 state parks will host a variety of hikes, nature walks and programs, dining and camping specials, and various other events highlighting 75 years of service.

“Alabama State Parks recently launched a public relations campaign acknowledging the many partners we have in our parks,” said Greg Lein, Alabama State Parks Director.

“We hope the 75th anniversary celebration will strengthen our connection with all the visitors and other partners who make these parks possible. Alabama’s park system exists thanks to their support and we need it now more than ever.”

The acquisition of land for public use has deep roots. The National Forest System began in 1891. In 1916, the National Park Service was established to oversee a growing network of parks that included icons such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Sequoia National Park.

Alabama’s park system began in the 1920s with Cheaha State Park being the longest continually operating facility. There were 11 state parks in Alabama by 1933 including Bromley, Cheaha, Fort Toulouse, Geneva, Little River, Panther Creek, St. Stephens, Sumter, Talladega County, The Lagoons, and Weogufka.

Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail, DeSoto State Park

Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail, DeSoto State Park

Many of the original park structures and infrastructure were built by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) and can still be seen when visiting a modern Alabama State Park.

The Division of State Parks, Monuments, and Historic Sites was created to oversee management of the park system in 1939.

Back in 1939 when the first state parks were opened in Alabama, they were not created to make money.

One hundred percent of the state park operational funds are now generated through visitors and the remaining maintenance funds decided by the Alabama Legislature. The revenue to operate and maintain the 22 state parks is generated by user fees (i.e., gate entry, lodging, boat launch access, RV and camp sites, etc.).

Today, one of Alabama’s 22 state parks is within an hour drive from most any community in the state and offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities including:

Five resort parks featuring lodge, restaurant, and convention facilities.

Ten parks with modern cottages and chalets.

Twenty-one parks with modern campgrounds.

Two parks with cave tours.

The Parks Path Golf Trail.

The Gulf State Park Fishing Pier and Gulf Adventure Center Hummingbird Zipline.

Three parks with marinas and many more fishing and boating opportunities.

Picnic pavilions perfect for any outdoor gathering.

Various museums highlighting the rich cultural and natural heritage of the local communities.

Buck's Pocket State Park

Buck’s Pocket State Park

More than 200 miles of hiking, biking, horseback riding, and walking trails.
Thousands of acres of water-based recreation ranging from mountain lakes and rushing streams to the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.

It’s time to take an Alabama Road Trip.

Details

Alabama Tourism

Website: alabama.travel

Alabama State Parks

downloadThe Alabama State Parks Division operates and maintains 22 state parks encompassing approximately 48,000 acres of land and water.

These Parks rely on visitor fees and the support of other Partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. Partners Pay the Way.

Visit the website for information about the Alabama State Parks 75th Anniversary Celebration and for lodging, camping, and dining specials and event announcements.

Phone: (800) ALAPARK (252-7275)

Website: alapark.com

Worth Pondering…

Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you
Here I come, Alabama

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