State Parks Impact Alabama’s Economy

An earlier story detailed the economic benefits for communities located near national parks and other recreation and scenic hot spots.

Relax and enjoy the beauty of Gulf State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Relax and enjoy the beauty of Gulf State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The National Park Service concluded that, nationwide, the country’s parks contributed more than $14.7 billion to gateway communities in 2012.

A recent study conducted in Alabama concluded the State Park System also makes significant contributions to local economies.

From the beaches of the Gulf Coast to the Appalachian foothills, Alabama’s 22 state parks offer a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities that include hiking, biking, swimming, camping, boating, fishing, horseback riding, lodging options, museums, cave tours, golf, dining, and relaxation.

With an economic impact of $375.2 million, Alabama’s state parks contribute far more than simply locations for outdoor recreation and family vacations.

According to the study in 2011 the statewide network of parks and nature preserves supported 5,340 jobs totaling $140.2 million in earnings adding an estimated visitor spending of $152.4 million.

From 2007 to 2011, the parks had $170.3 million in receipts; $127.5 million was collected at the parks. Expenditures totaled $167.8 million and generated statewide economic and fiscal impacts of $336.1 million in gross business sales, $203.4 million contribution to GDP, $125.6 million in earnings to Alabama households for 4,784 direct and indirect jobs, and $9.5 million in income and sales taxes ($4.7 million state income tax, $2.1 million state sales tax, and $2.7 million local sales tax).

Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail, DeSoto State Park
Talmadge Butler Boardwalk Trail, DeSoto State Park

Economists Samuel Addy and Ahmad Ijaz with the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce conducted the analysis.

The study confirms what anyone working in the system already knows: “State parks are valuable tools to promote the state’s economy,” stated Greg Lein, Alabama State Parks Director.

“But the study gave us real numbers for state parks’ overall economic impact and the many public and private jobs that depend on them.”

According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which commissioned the study, the state parks division recorded more than 4.6 million visits in 2012.

Clearly, the study concludes, state funding for Alabama State Parks is an attractive investment as the parks system generates more in tax revenues, promotes tourism, attracts both in-state and out-of-state visitors, creates jobs, and provides numerous educational, recreational, and environmental benefits that are difficult to quantify.

And in 2014 the Alabama State Park System celebrates a milestone—its 75th anniversary.

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’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.

Alabama State Parks
Alabama State Parks

So whether it is hiking or biking (roads or trails); camping (RV or tent); fishing (bank, pier, or in a boat); golfing (six courses across the state); horseback riding (available at several parks); swimming, water skiing, canoeing, or boating; lodging options; museums; cave tours; family friendly activities; restaurants (with fine dining at resort parks); wildlife and nature watching; or simply relaxing; Alabama State Parks have it all. State parks also provide numerous educational, recreational, and environmental benefits that are difficult to quantify.

Details

Alabama State Parks

The 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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Alabama Gulf Coast Named Top Tourism Attraction

Alabama’s Gulf beaches and Gulf State Park are the largest tourism attractions in the state, overwhelmingly so, according to the new attendance figures released last week by the Alabama Tourism Department.

The Alabama Gulf Coast. features 32 miles of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.  © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Alabama Gulf Coast. features 32 miles of white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.
© Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The state’s largest stand-alone festival events, located about 20 miles apart, are also located in the Gulf Coast region. The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival (March 14-16, in 2014) and National Shrimp Festival (October 9-12, in 2014) in Gulf Shores come in at the top two spots among event promotions staged over a single weekend.

The relatively new Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival (June 13-14, in 2014), which takes place in between the other two in Foley, is also rising up the state’s annual top 10 festival list.

According to the 2013 annual report, Mobile’s three-week long Mardi Gras celebration draws the largest attendance in the Events category, with 798,312 reported for 2013. The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival turned out 300,000 last year, ahead of the National Shrimp Festival crowds reported at 250,000.

Birmingham’s Pepper Place Saturday Market had total attendance of 285,000 last year, however that event is ongoing from April through December.

Gulf State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Gulf State Park, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Foley Balloon Festival came in with reported attendance of 65,000 in the latest report, in 8th place of the overall Events category.

The state’s largest Nature attraction is also by far the largest overall visitor destination. The Gulf beaches of Dauphin Island, Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, recording 2013 total attendance of 5.5 million. Gulf State Park alone had 1,965,000 visitors.

The state’s most popular Paid attraction last year was Huntsville’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center, with more than 580,000 people visiting, followed by the Birmingham Zoo at second with 574,176 and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at third with 530,678. The USS Alabama attraction on the Mobile causeway came in at 4th with nearly 375,000 visitors.

Attendance figures were collected by the Alabama Tourism Department from local tourism organizations.

Summary of selected attendance figures follow:

Top 5 Admission Charged Attractions 2013

U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville (584,972)
Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham (574,176)
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail (530,678)
USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, Mobile (371,229)
McWane Science Center, Birmingham (316,918)

Top 5 Free Attractions 2013

Birmingham Botanical Gardens (350,000)
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (157,609)
Alabama State Capitol, Montgomery (122,667)
Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham (122,345)
U.S. Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker (95,030)

Top 5 Events 2013

Mobile Mardi Gras (798,312)
Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival (300,000)
Pepper Place Saturday Market, Birmingham (285,000)
National Shrimp Festival, Gulf Shores (250,000)
National Peanut Festival, Dothan (182,500)

Top 5 Parks and Natural Destinations 2013

Sparkling turquoise Gulf waters and stunningly white sand await the RVer on the Alabama Gulf Coast. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Sparkling turquoise Gulf waters and stunningly white sand await the RVer on the Alabama Gulf Coast. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Alabama Gulf Coast Beaches (5,500,000)
Gulf State Park (1,965,000)
Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, McCalla (541,025)
Railroad Park, Birmingham (488,000)
Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham (433,500)

Worth Pondering…

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten,

Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.
In Dixie Land, where I was born in,
early on one frosty mornin’,
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.

—lyrics by Daniel Decatur Emmett

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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

Read More

Deep South Surprises

A Gulf Coast resort destination in Orange Beach, The Wharf offers diverse residential, entertainment, retail, and dining options, and a full service Marina with direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway.

112-foot-tall Ferris wheel at The Wharf. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
112-foot-tall Ferris wheel at The Wharf. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Whether relaxing in a luxury condominium alongside the magnificent marina, enjoying the 9,600-seat capacity Amphitheater, or viewing a movie on one of the 15-screens at the Carmike Cinema, visitors can expect a unique experience.

Live concerts with some of the biggest names in music, a brightly lit, 112-foot-tall Ferris wheel, and boutiques along with casual and fine dining restaurants make The Wharf a Gulf Coast stand-out.

The Alabama Gulf Coast provides a variety of RV resorts and campgrounds. Whether you’re a rustic camper or prefer a high end resort, the options are plentiful.

Located in the city of Gulf Shores on the coast of Alabama, white sun-kissed beaches, surging surf, seagulls, and seashells greet you at Gulf State Park.

Consisting of 6,150 acres with two miles of sugar white sand beaches and three fresh water lakes, Gulf State Park has a modern full-service campground, cabins, cottages, back country trails, and the largest fishing pier in the Gulf of Mexico.

The park also features an interactive nature center, nationally recognized scenic nature trail, new tennis courts, beautiful beach pavilion, 18-hole Refuge Golf Course, and a 900-acre lake for fishing in the picnic area on Lake Shelby.

Relax and enjoy the beauty of Gulf State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Relax and enjoy the beauty of Gulf State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Gulf State Park offers a 496-site campground with pull-through, back-in, water front, and ADA accessible sites, and 11 modern bathhouses. All sites are big-rig friendly and have water, sewer, and 50/30/20- amp electric service, a paved camping pad, picnic table, and pedestal grill. Tents are also welcome in the campground.

A laundry facility is located beside the camp store. There are two playgrounds located in the campground.

Gulf State Park’s Pier opened July 23, 2009. The largest pier on the Gulf of Mexico, it is 1,540 feet in length and has an area of 41,800 square feet. The pier boasts features that were not available on the old pier, destroyed in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan, such as indoor seating for concession area, indoor retail area for tackle and souvenirs, comfort stations at the midpoint of the pier, and wheelchair accessible rail fishing. The new pier has 2,448 feet of fishing space available along the rails.

Bella Terra of Gulf Shores is an upscale Class A motorhome resort community © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Bella Terra of Gulf Shores is an upscale Class A motorhome resort community © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located a short distance from the Gulf Coast, Bella Terra of Gulf Shores is an upscale Class A motorhome resort community. In addition to full ownership RV lots, rentals are available. Owners and guests enjoy their 6,000 square foot Grand Clubhouse, exercise facilities as well as gorgeously designed oversized lots—some as large as 5,000 square feet—with views of a stocked lake and lush foliage.

Resort amenities include a Welcome Center with professional resort and rental management staff, fenced-in dog park, stocked lake, fully-appointed fitness center, infinity-edge pool, Jacuzzi, private movie theatre, business center, and croquet court.

The RV lots offered for both sale and rent include professional landscaping for privacy, concrete pads, built-in patios, utility hook-ups, and optional upgrades including gazebos, outdoor entertainment centers, and storage units.

Lake Osprey RV Country Club, the newest destination Luxury RV Resort destination on the Alabama Gulf Coast is designed for high-end RVs, but not restricted to Class A motorhomes.

Lake Osprey RV Country Club is a destination Luxury RV Resort designed for high-end RVs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Lake Osprey RV Country Club is a destination Luxury RV Resort designed for high-end RVs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A destination Luxury RV Resort on the North Shore of the Alabama Gulf Coast built for outdoor enthusiasts that boast beautiful, serene settings and a championship golf course.

Lake Osprey is nestled around several spring-fed lakes in a nature preserve and consists of 188 lushly landscaped extra-large RV sites. Each site is accompanied with a Golf membership to the Championship Soldiers Creek Golf Course located within walking distance of your RV.

Please Note: This is Part 3 of a 3-Part series

Part 1: Experience the Magic of the Alabama Gulf Coast

Part 2: Getaway to the Alabama Gulf Coast

Worth Pondering…

Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet home Alabama

Where the skies are so blue

Sweet home Alabama

Lord, I’m coming home to you

Here I come, Alabama

—lyrics by Lynyrd Skynyrd

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Free Wireless at Alabama State Parks

In the last year, a new technology has been added to many of Alabama’s state parks—wireless Internet.

With free wireless Internet now available at select Alabama State Park campgrounds, roughing it no longer means disconnecting from the modern world, according to a news release.

“The wireless Internet program is one of the largest wide-scale Wi-Fi deployments of any United States park system,” says Tim Wishum, Alabama State Parks Acting Co-Director.

“The Alabama program will provide more than 20,000 park guests with free Internet access while camping.”

While many people love to come to Alabama’s state parks to experience the beauty of nature, to relax, to hike, fish, and explore, sometimes it’s difficult—if not impossible—to fully unplug from technology. School, work, financial transactions, and social networking are just a few of the many reasons people want to be connected.

The Alabama State Parks Wi-Fi network provides guests with a reliable Internet connection to enhance their visit to the parks by allowing them to stay connected with friends and family back home as well as conduct essential business such as school work, financial transactions, and social media.

Beginning with Gulf State Park in August 2010, the parks system has deployed over 600 radios, routers, and relays, utilizing 92 miles of wireless networks to provide Internet to more than 1,200 campsites for more than 20,000 guests.

Currently Lakepoint, Gulf, Wind Creek, and Cheaha State Parks have Wi-Fi Internet in the campgrounds.

Lake Guntersville, Joe Wheeler, and Oak Mountain are in the final stages of establishing their Wi-Fi systems.

Rather than create a few localized “hot spots,” these deployments have turned entire campgrounds “hot,” allowing for guests to stay connected in the comfort of their own recreational vehicles.

Free Wi-Fi is also available in or near the park office or store in select parks that do not have the campground systems.

Those parks include Blue Springs, Monte Sano, Buck’s Pocket, Florala, Frank Jackson, Lake Lurleen, and DeSoto.

Ongoing support and continuous improvements have been implemented to ensure any problem areas or outages are remedied in short order.

The next time you take a trip and need to stay connected, Alabama State Parks will be ready to meet your needs.

Details

Alabama State Parks

Most Alabama State Parks host modern campsites along with primitive camping.

Modern bathhouses and spacious camping pads—many right on the water—make camping in an Alabama State Park comfortable and fun.

Many park campgrounds offer senior discounts, allow pets, have onsite picnic tables and grills, and ample parking for visitors.

Advance reservations are recommended, especially on weekends and holidays.

Phone: (800) ALAPARK (252-7275)

Website: alapark.com

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR)

The new pier at Gulf State Park. (Source: gulf-shores-alabama.net)

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) promote the wise stewardship, management, and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

Address: 64 N. Union Street, Suite 468, Montgomery, AL 36130

Website: outdooralabama.com

Worth Pondering…

Dixie

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten,
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.
In Dixie Land, where I was born in,
early on one frosty mornin’,
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.

—Daniel Decatur Emmett

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Lake Guntersville Rebounds One Year after Storms

On April 27, 2011 Lake Guntersville State Park was hit by multiple tornadoes.

Thirteen months after three tornadoes tore a path of destruction through Lake Guntersville State Park, the park has rebounded and is still a primary vacation spot in North Alabama. Improved views from the campground and a recently renovated championship golf course are just a few of the attractions that make the park so special to visitors.

“There was major damage to the park during the storms, but it is giving us the opportunity to rebuild a new and improved Lake Guntersville State Park,” said Tim Wishum, Acting Co-Director of Alabama State Parks.

“Some of those improvements include gas logs in the chalets, a newly planned nature center, and various campground improvements. We look forward to reintroducing the new Lake Guntersville to the public.”

Some of the improvements are still in the planning and execution stages, but the park has many offerings to keep even the most adventurous guests satisfied including the 18-hole Eagle’s Nest Golf Course, 36 miles of hiking trails, excellent fishing, 139 improved campsites with more opening soon, six primitive campsites and two rental campers, more than 35 geocacaches, 18 chalets, and five lakeside cabins.

All of the 112 lodge rooms are now open and the Pinecrest Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

All damages to the Lodge & Convention Center have been repaired and the facility is now 100 percent operational. This includes all banquet and meeting rooms.

. "Eagle Awareness" weekends in January feature guided field trips at Lake Guntersville Resort State Park.

The most noticeable impact of the storms is the loss of more than 5,000 trees. Included in that number are approximately 95 percent of the trees that once forested the campground and about 65 percent of the golf course’s trees. There are plans to replant the campground and golf course, but for now visitors can take advantage of the improved views of Lake Guntersville, Alabama’s largest lake.

“While we’d still rather have our trees, the view from the chalets and the lodge is fantastic,” Wishum said.

Details

Lake Guntersville State Park

Lake Guntersville State Park is located along the banks of the Tennessee River in northeastern Alabama between Bridgeport and Guntersville. The park overlooks the majestic 69,000-acre Guntersville Reservoir, and ranges over more than 6,000 acres of natural woodlands.

The park has an 18-hole championship golf course, a beach complex, fishing center, hiking trails, nature programs, and a day-use area. Modern campground and lakeview cottages on the lake, coupled with a resort lodge on the pinnacle of Taylor Mountain, and chalets on the ridge-tops provide a selection of overnight accommodations beyond comparison.

Rent a pontoon, flat bottom fishing boats, and canoes at the Town Creek Fishing Center.

The hiking trails in Lake Guntersville State Park traverse moderate to difficult terrain and cover over 36 miles of park property. They are multi-use trails, serving as hiking, biking, and horse trails. The trails are varied with some following alongside the banks of the Tennessee River, others lead to seasonal waterfalls and wildflowers, and some that peak your interest just by their name alone such as the Old Still Path and the Moonshine Trail.

One year after tornadoes slammed into Lake Guntersville State Park, most of the facilities have reopened, and the views from the lodge are spectacular.
One year after tornadoes slammed into Lake Guntersville State Park, most of the facilities have reopened, and the views from the lodge are spectacular.

The trails differ in length from .5 miles to 3.5 miles yet connect with one another to form a loop of trails that add up to 36 miles. Enjoy a short 30 minute hike, guided Saturday morning interpretive hikes, or pack a picnic lunch and head out for a day exploring the ridges, waterfalls, and river in beautiful Lake Guntersville State Park.

Fishing, boating, camping, hunting and eagle watching are popular sports in the area. Eagle watching centers on Guntersville State Park and the dam during the winter, though some bald eagles stay all year.

Park Resort Address: 1155 Lodge Drive, Guntersville, AL 35976

Phone: (256) 571-5440

Website: alapark.com

Worth Pondering…

Dixie

Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton,
Old times there are not forgotten, (Alt Original: Cinnamon seed and sandy bottom,)
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.
In Dixie Land, where I was born in,
early on one frosty mornin’,
Look away, look away, look away Dixie Land.

—Daniel Decatur Emmett

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Alabama State Parks 2012 Geocaching Challenge

Alabama State Parks kicks off its 2012 Geocaching Challenge at Lakepoint Resort State Park in Eufaula next Friday, April 13.

The kickoff event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. with a reception in the Magnolia room at the park Lodge. The event continues Saturday morning, April 14, at 9 a.m. with Geocaching activities planned at pavilions two and four in the campground day use area, according to a state park news release.

Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game in which players hunt for hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and can share their experiences online.

For the Alabama State Parks Geocaching Challenge, geocaches are being hidden at each of the 22 state parks. The caches will have a log book, trade items, and all are kid friendly.
Each cache will also contain clues to a puzzle cache.

When geocachers complete the statewide challenge and successfully open the puzzle cache they will be rewarded with a specially designed Alabama State Parks Geocaching coin. The only way to receive this coin will be to complete the challenge.

A second Alabama State Parks coin is being produced and will be sold in each park gift shop.

A special Alabama State Parks geocaching coin is being produced during the challenge and will be sold in each park gift shop. There will be two versions of the coin available, a trackable and non-trackable coin.

There will be two versions of the coin available, a trackable and non-trackable coin.
During the kickoff event, geocahers are invited to participate in a cache contest to be held at pavilion four on Saturday, and a Cache In-Trash Out (CITO) event at 9 a.m. at pavilion two.

Registration for the cache contest is at 9 a.m., the contest begins at 10 a.m.

Various prizes will be awarded for the best cache including a free weekend at Lakepoint Resort State Park, and a weekend of free camping in the Chewacla State Park Campground during football season.

Attendees will vote on the best cache, and winners of the contest will be announced during the noon event as well as the cache coordinates for all 22 state parks.

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching (pronounced GEE-oh-cash-ing) combines treasure hunting with outdoor recreation and hiking, as well as technology (a handheld global positioning system, or “GPS,” device is needed).

Weatherproof boxes are hidden in specific locations (caches) marked with GPS coordinates, and individuals navigate to hidden locations using the provided coordinates to find each box and its contents.

Details

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

Address: 64 N. Union Street, Suite 468, Montgomery, Alabama 36130

Website: outdooralabama.com

Alabama State Parks

Lakepoint Resort State Park has a lodge, convention center, modern campground, vacation cabins and lakeside cottages, picnic areas, 18-hole golf course and a marina complete with launch facilities and boat slips. (Source: alapark.com)

Alabama State Parks have it all…

golf, fishing, boating, swimming, camping, hiking, nature craft, biking, horseback riding, family fun, and just plain ole’ relaxin’. There are great places to stay and great places to eat plus beaches, mountains, and everything in between.

Do a little or do it all!

Phone: (800) ALAPARK (1-800-252-7275)

Website: alapark.com

Geocaching in Alabama State Parks

Website: alapark.com/Geocaching

Worth Pondering…
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

—Lewis Carrol

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Six Courses, One Name: Alabama State Parks Golf Trail Named

In early December I posted a story, What Would You Name the Alabama State Parks Golf Trail?

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources sought help in naming the State Parks Golf Trail.

With a recent announcement of new course names and logos for the golf courses, the Alabama State Parks wanted to promote their courses collectively, as a trail.

The concept is similar to that used by the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which has become a major tourist attraction in the state.

With six courses that range from Joe Wheeler State Park in the northwestern corner of the state, to Lakepoint Resort State Park in the east central part of the state, to Gulf State Park on the Gulf Coast, Alabama State Parks desired to promote these courses as a trail of courses that provide quality play and value to the average golfer.

After two months of accepting submissions for a name that combines all six Alabama State Parks golf courses into a single trail, a name has been chosen, “The Parks Path: An Alabama Golf Destination.”

The Parks Path: An Alabama Golf Destination

As part of the rebranding, the courses will also be rated, sloped, and handicapped for the Golf Handicap and Information Network (GHIN) system.

A trail card will allow golfers to visit the six state parks and golf at a discounted rate.

Chad Davis, assistant superintendent at Joe Wheeler Park, said he expects the marketing effort and recent renovations at the park’s lodge to boost visitation there.

The golf courses included in “The Parks Path: An Alabama Golf Destination”:

  • The “General” at Joe Wheeler, Joe Wheeler’s rank in the Confederate Army
  • The “Oaks” at Oak Mountain, which represents the wide variety of oak trees in the park
  • The “Sanctuary” at Lakepoint, which represents the nearby national wildlife sanctuary
  • “Deer Haven” at Roland Cooper, which highlights the large local deer population
  • The “Refuge” at Gulf State Park, represents the nearby national wildlife refuge
  • The “Eagle’s Nest” at Lake Guntersville, honors the return of our national symbol to North Alabama, the Bald Eagle

Details

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management, and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

Website: outdooralabama.com

Alabama State Parks

Webcam overlooking the “Oaks” at Oak Mountain State Park (Camera provided by FOX6 WBRC-TV)

Alabama State Parks have it all…golf, fishing, boating, swimming, camping, hiking, nature craft, biking, horseback riding, family fun, and just plain ole’ relaxin’.

There are great places to stay and great places to eat plus beaches, mountains, and everything in between.

Do a little or do it all at an Alabama State Park.

Phone: (800) ALAPARK (800-252-7275)

Website: alapark.com

Related

Worth Pondering…

If I can hit a curveball, why can’t I hit a ball that is standing still on a course?

—Larry Nelson

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What Would You Name the Alabama State Parks Golf Trail?

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is seeking help in naming the State Parks Golf Trail.

The concept is similar to what is used by the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which has become a major tourist attraction in the state.

With the recent announcement of new course names and logos for the golf courses, the Alabama State Parks now want to promote their courses collectively, as a trail.

With six courses that range from Joe Wheeler State Park in the northwestern corner of the state, to Lakepoint Resort State Park in the east central part of the state, to Gulf State Park on the Gulf Coast, the time has come to promote these courses as a trail of courses that provide quality play and value to the average golfer, according to a recent news release.

The new golf course names are:

  • The “General” at Joe Wheeler, Joe Wheeler’s rank in the Confederate Army
  • The “Oaks” at Oak Mountain, which represents the wide variety of oak trees in the park
  • The “Sanctuary” at Lakepoint, which represents the nearby national wildlife sanctuary
  • “Deer Haven” at Roland Cooper, which highlights the large local deer population
  • The “Refuge” at Gulf State Park, represents the nearby national wildlife refuge
  • The “Eagle’s Nest” at Lake Guntersville, honors the return of our national symbol to North Alabama, the Bald Eagle

Naming the golf courses is part of an effort to entice more visitors to state parks.

Now these six parks need a collective name so they can be promoted as a trail.

Alabama State Parks would like your ideas and suggestions as to what this name should be. For the next several weeks they will be soliciting the opinions of their website visitors to help name the golf trail.

“We’re trying to boost awareness of our state park golf courses,” said Randy Jinks, marketing director for the parks. “Our state park golf courses are Alabama’s original golfing trail.”

When making a suggestion, consider the individual course names and provide ideas that incorporate all the names into a cohesive title. The trail name will be chosen in early 2012.

As part of the rebranding, the courses will also be rated, sloped, and handicapped for the Golf Handicap and Information Network (GHIN) system.

A trail card will allow golfers to visit the six state parks and golf at a discounted rate.

Chad Davis, assistant superintendent at Joe Wheeler Park, said he expects the marketing effort and recent renovations at the park’s lodge to boost visitation there.

“All 75 rooms at the lodge have been gutted to the bare walls,” Davis said. “The sheetrock was removed and replaced. The doors have been replaced. The balconies have been renovated and a lot of other improvement made at the lodge.”

Suggestions needed

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is seeking suggested names for its state park golf course trail.

What do you think? Suggestions can be submitted on the Alabama State Parks website, or emailed to dcnr.parkspr@dcnr.alabama.gov.

Related

Details

Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Gulf State Park Golf Course (Credit: http://cb4go.com)

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management, and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

Website: outdooralabama.com

Alabama State Parks

Phone: (800) ALAPARK (800-252-7275)

Website: alapark.com

Worth Pondering…

If I can hit a curveball, why can’t I hit a ball that is standing still on a course?

—Larry Nelson

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