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. 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 to the people of Alabama.
“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. 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.
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.
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.
More information about the Alabama State Parks 75th Anniversary Celebration will be posted at www.alapark.com during the coming months. Visit the website often for lodging, camping and dining specials and event announcements.