Photo by David Rainer/ADCNR.
Ramona Meza of Foley shows off a Florida pompano caught recently on the Gulf State Park Pier.
Gulf State Park is one of the most popular destinations for residents and tourists along Alabama’s coast. The distinctive landmark is now starting to recover from last year’s stormy season.
David Rainer with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) recently wrote how the Gulf State Park Pier was set to reopen in September 2020 following a $2.4 million renovation. Then Hurricane Sally struck, causing a 200-foot section near the end of the pier to collapse.
The park’s staff quickly set about making repairs to displaced floor panels, plumbing, electrical wiring and lighting. This January, the middle restroom area — called the T — was available again to anglers and visitors.
ADCNR Commissioner Chris Blankenship, a University of South Alabama graduate whose family moved to Mobile when he was a child, is pleased the facility is available again.
“I am very glad to get a portion of the pier reopened after the damage caused by Hurricane Sally,” Blankenship said. “A walk out on the Gulf State Park Pier is a time-honored tradition of locals and visitors alike. A trip to the Gulf is not complete without experiencing the sights from the pier.
“I am really glad for the fishermen to have access again. Not everyone has a boat. The Gulf State Park Pier provides quality recreational angling for thousands of shore-based fishermen each year. From the red drum in the fall, whiting and sheepshead abundance in the winter, spotted sea trout and pompano in the spring, to king and Spanish mackerel runs in the summer, with an occasional cobia catch mixed in, the pier offers excitement for fishermen during every season.”
One new feature on the pier that has also been well received is the fish carcass grinder that macerates the fish remains and then transfers them to holding tanks in the parking lot. The pier is currently limited to 200 people, 125 anglers and 75 sightseers at once.
To learn about future plans for the pier, visit outdooralabama.com.
- University of Mobile’s (UM) Anna Cabrera was the only Ram to compete in the 2021 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Indoor Track & Field National Championships in South Dakota. She placed sixth overall in the women’s long jump with a leap of 5.63 meters (18 feet, 5 inches). This earned the sophomore from Spain NAIA All-American status.
- Several members of the University of South Alabama’s (USA) track and field programs have claimed Sun Belt Conference Athlete of the Week awards. After setting a new career-best in the 1,500-meter race (4:33.21), Silje Lindstad received the women’s award. The junior’s time is currently the fifth-fastest time in program history.
Senior Autavia Fluker was honored as she claimed the top spot in the hammer throw with a 64.39-meter performance at the Tiger Track Classic. She is currently the top hammer throw performer in the league and Jaguar history after her 66.11-meter first-place performance at the USA Invitational.
Senior Carolien Millenaar was recognized as the Women’s Track Athlete of the Week and redshirt freshman Francois Prinsloo won the Men’s Field Athlete honor after their performances at the Texas Relays. Millenaar ran a USA-best time of 10:26.13 in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase for a first-place finish. Prinsloo claimed the top spot in the discus throw after a 55.71-meter effort.
- UM’s Maggie Copeland, a junior from Saraland, has been named the 2021 Barnes & Noble College Competitive Cheer Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She has posted a 3.59 grade-point average as a nursing major. She was also named Southern States Athletic Conference’s (SSAC) Best All-Around Female and Honorable Mention NAIA All-American on the mat this season.
Joining her on the SSAC team is Aleigh Herndon. The senior from Foley is a business and integrated marketing and communications major. She joins Copeland in being a two-time SSAC All-Academic Team selection and is a two-time NAIA Competitive Cheer National Championship qualifier.
- USA senior Yu Fujioka was named the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week for two consecutive weeks. She was 2-0 in both singles and doubles play in conference matches against Georgia Southern and Georgia State.
New Gulf Star projects
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on enhancing the environmental and economic health of the Gulf of Mexico through a unique public-private partnership. Among its projects is the ongoing Gulf Star Program.
This year’s projects focus on supporting coastal resilience, under-represented and under-served communities, citizen science water and marine debris monitoring, living shorelines, wildlife conservation, and regional data sharing.
The Gulf Star Program leverages contributions from agencies, businesses and nonprofits without requiring matching funds from grant recipients. It provides funding for projects that support healthy beaches, clean waters, productive ecosystems and thriving coastal communities in the Gulf region. In total, nearly 50 projects have been funded through the Gulf Star Program since 2016.
“Our incredible success is built on the strength of GOMA’s collaborative formula and the shared vision of our Gulf Star partners,” Laura Bowie, executive director of GOMA, said. “I am incredibly proud of the impact these projects are having on Gulf ecosystems and economies.”
The Gulf Star partners include BHP, Shell, Freeport-McMoRan, Hess, Chevron, Clean Gulf Associates, Equinor, Oxy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the five Gulf states. Learn more about the Gulf Star Program at gulfofmexicoalliance.org/gulfstar.
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