The convention center at the Gulf State Park was once the bustling center of activity along the Baldwin County beaches. That all ended when Hurricane Ivan devastated the area in 2004.

Now, more than a decade later, life is returning to this patch of sand with the construction of a 350-room Hilton Hotel, a conference center, pedestrian bridges over Highway 182 and 27 miles of accessible trails. Gov. Kay Ivey has called the project a “crown jewel.”

However, during much of this time the Gulf State Pier has continued to be used by visitors and local residents. At 1,540 feet long, 20 feet wide and boasting 2,448 feet of fishing space, it is one of the largest piers on the Gulf of Mexico.

Rebuilt in 2009 following Hurricane Ivan, the state’s only public pier on the Gulf features covered seating in a concession area and an indoor retail shop with tackle and souvenirs. Signs provide information on native fish, birds and other area wildlife. There is also wheelchair-accessible rail fishing.

Officials with Alabama State Parks now want to know what they can do to improve a visit. In an effort to continually provide quality outdoor experiences, ASP has launched an online survey to learn more about the memories of anglers who utilize the pier. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and is available at

“We are thankful for the many visitors who choose the pier as a fishing destination,” State Parks Natural Resources Planner Emily Vanderford said. “Our goal is to provide them with the best fishing experience possible. The data collected through this survey will help us accomplish that goal and assist us in meeting the needs of our park visitors.”

For more information about the pier, visit

Sports briefs

• The Mobile Generals kick off their 2018 campaign this Saturday at 7 p.m. The squad, a member of the Amateur to Professional Developmental Football League, hosts the Louisiana Tigers at the Theodore Athletic Association Sports Complex at 6685 Nan Gray Davis Road.

“After falling short three years in a row in the second round of the playoffs, the Generals have combined with the Prichard Falcons to make one team for Mobile,” said head coach Jerome Jones, who added his club received the league’s Humanitarian Award for community service. “We are now ready to compete for the APDFL title.”

The Generals, who went 8-2 last year, will also host the Bayou Vipers on March 24, the Arkansas Steelers on April 14, the Emerald Coast Scorpions on April 21 and the Greater Pensacola Jets on May 19. Mobile is represented by wide receiver Khiary Hill, defensive lineman Ken Wells and linebacker Aaron Ward on the league’s Players of the Horizon list.

To learn more about the team, search for Mobile Generals on Facebook.

• The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board will host its first meeting of 2018 this Saturday in Montgomery at 9 a.m. in the Alabama State Capitol Auditorium, 600 Dexter Ave. The CAB assists in formulating policies for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, examines all rules and regulations, and makes recommendations for change or amendment. This includes hunting seasons and bag limits. Local members of the 10-person group include Ben C. Stimpson Jr. of Mobile and Gary Wolfe of Fairhope.

• Spring Hill College women’s soccer head coach Allison Whitworth has announced the Badgers’ spring schedule. The opening game sees the Badgers host the Birmingham United Soccer Association on Saturday, March 3, and the Alabama Elite on Saturday, March 10, at Library Field. Spring Hill then visits the University of Mobile on Thursday, March 15, before returning home to host William Carey University on Saturday, April 7. The season concludes April 17 versus South Alabama, University of Mobile and West Florida in Fairhope.

• Spring Hill was well represented in the Gulf South Conference 2017 Academic Honor Roll. The Badgers women’s soccer team put 16 players on the roster while the men’s team had 13 players listed. To qualify for the GSC Academic Honor Roll, a student-athlete must hold at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and appear in at least one regular-season varsity competition. The full list of honorees can be found at

• University of South Alabama freshman Yu Fujioka was named the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week. The native of Funabashi, Japan, went 3-0 at flights 3 and 4, and didn’t lose a set in leading the Jaguars to a 4-0 record. She also posted a 3-1 mark in doubles with partner Alina Zolotareva.

• USA Senior Ashley Heitling was named the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week after a first-place finish in the 3,000-meter run at the Jaguar Invitational in Birmingham. Heitling finished the race with a time of 10:09.56, more than 12 seconds ahead of the second-place runner, to earn her first SBC Athlete of the Week honor. The effort marked her best time of the season. Heitling currently stands at seventh in the all-time Jaguar records for the 3,000-meter race.

• USA managed to retain the SBC Women’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week. Sophomore Autavia Fluker received the honor after breaking the USA school record and earning a first-place finish in the women’s shot put with a score of 15.05 meters at the Samford Invitational in Birmingham. Fluker’s score shattered the previous school record of 14.94 meters set by Latifah Johnson in 2013. Fluker also earned a Top 10 finish in the women’s weight throw with a score of 15.96 meters.

• The Palmer Williams Group, a nonprofit organization founded by former USA and NFL football players David Palmer and Sherman Williams, is looking to fill a number of part-time paid and volunteer positions. The foundation was created to assist and guide disadvantaged youth to overcome interpersonal obstacles and embrace family values and education and avoid life’s pitfalls.

Part-time paid positions include college intern and LifeSync Academy program director. Volunteers are needed as soccer coaches, cheer coaches, football coaches and athletic youth camp volunteers (for a single date in June). Please send a resume or letter of interest to