Alabama State Parks have lengthy served as Alabama’s yard.
That’s been extra evident than ever in latest months, as Alabama’s 21 state parks remained open due to the knowledge of Gov. Kay Ivey, Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship and different state leaders. The variety of day-use and tenting guests soared this summer time, drawn by the number of family-friendly actions and wide-open areas that made it simple to apply social distancing.
Alabamians have all the time supported and visited state parks in excessive numbers, however loads of new guests have found the parks in latest months. “We don’t know why we didn’t come earlier than, however we’re glad we did, and we’ll be again” has change into a preferred remark from many new visitors.
The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic modified our lives dramatically. Live shows and athletic occasions had been cancelled. Faculties abruptly closed as instruction moved on-line. Church companies had been curtailed and have become a digital expertise.
Alabama State Parks, nonetheless, remained open and have become a secure oasis for hundreds of residents throughout the state. Like a loyal good friend, the parks got here to the rescue throughout a time when folks desperately wanted a wholesome outlet for recreation, contemporary air and exquisite surroundings.
The brand new COVID-19 actuality additionally revealed new alternatives, together with park naturalists creating digital visits to the parks. Whether or not as a useful resource for college kids on the lookout for an adventurous lesson or a senior citizen on the lookout for a digital go to, the progressive naturalists’ program took the parks to the folks.
It’s simple to grasp why so many individuals have begun visiting the parks and why the digital applications have loved on-line recognition. The parks – stretching from the white sand seashores alongside Alabama’s stunning Gulf Coast to spectacular mountain vistas within the Appalachian foothills of northeast Alabama – supply one thing for nearly everybody.
On the lookout for fishing? Take a look at Guntersville State Park – the identical fishery that hosted the 2020 Bassmaster Basic and was just lately ranked because the nation’s No. 2 lake for bass anglers for the final decade – or Joe Wheeler State Park within the Shoals or Lakepoint State Park in Eufaula.
Need one thing actually distinctive? Take a look at cave excursions at Rickwood Caverns State Park, simply north of Birmingham, and Cathedral Caverns State Park, simply east of Huntsville. Don’t neglect about new zipline adventures obtainable at Lake Guntersville, Wind Creek and DeSoto state parks.
Guests to Alabama State Parks may discover the Cell-Tensaw Delta – generally known as American’s Amazon – at Meaher State Park close to Spanish Fort, go to pristine white sand seashores at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores or go to one in all America’s most majestic waterfalls at DeSoto State Park close to Fort Payne.
State parks like Monte Sano, Meaher and Oak Mountain supply a simple escape from the state’s largest city areas for a fast go to into wild, undisturbed nature, and smaller parks in locations like Clio and Gallion showcase the state’s rural areas.
With 21 parks protecting about 48,000 acres of land and water in Alabama, there’s a state park inside driving distance for just about each Alabamian to securely take pleasure in.
The COVID-19 pandemic has modified American life, nevertheless it hasn’t modified the Alabama State Parks’ dedication to preserving a number of the state’s most stunning land and water, enhancing public data of the atmosphere and creating top-notch leisure services.
Alabama’s yard serves as a playground for some, a schoolroom for others and a sanctuary for all – now greater than ever.
That’s successful story, and we’re proud to be a part of it.
Dan Hendricks serves because the president of the Alabama State Parks Basis. He holds a doctorate diploma from Duke College and served in a number of distinguished roles in larger training, together with vp or vice chancellor at Western Illinois, Purdue the LSU Basis and the College of North Alabama.
Matthew Dent is a member of the Alabama State Parks Basis Board of Administrators and likewise serves because the president and chief working officer of the Buffalo Rock Firm. In that function he leads the corporate’s total operations in Alabama, western Georgia and the Florida panhandle.
This text initially appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Alabama State Parks a secure oasis of exercise throughout COVID-19 pandemic