Alabama’s State Parks have been working on improvements both large and small all over the state. These projects range from new primitive campgrounds, construction of bathhouses, renovations, a multitude of maintenance projects, and improved pet accommodations.
Meaher State Park guests have numerous improvements to enjoy this fall. Ten new primitive campsites have been completed. This new campground also has a bathhouse and laundry facilities for overnight guests. In a few months guests will also be able to reserve two new cabins on the Mobile Bay. The pier at the boat launch was outfitted with new ADA compliant material and the day use picnic area is now open after renovations. These amenities could serve in the future as catalysts to create a jumping off point for outdoor adventures in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, which has gotten a lot of attention this year as a unique natural area.
“In the 75 years the parks system has existed the land and park facilities have developed, changed, and improved to meet guests’ demands,” State Rep. Randy Davis of Daphne said. “The parks are able to carry out necessary renovations and maintenance through funding from the state. This funding is less than 10 percent of the parks entire budget, but it crucial for the parks to continue to develop and maintain their beauty for generations to come.”
User fees generated from parks’ partners, visitors and tourists from all over the world generate 90 percent of the parks’ operating budget. The other 10 percent of the park system’s budget is allocated each year to the 22 parks by the legislature. The improvements at the parks all over Alabama are mainly thanks to the partners and visitors of the parks.
“Many people do not realize that the parks attract millions of visitors each year,” Rep. Davis said. “The economic impact of the state parks is huge for communities in all corners of Alabama.”
While some of these improvements seem small, they have a huge impact, and guests are noticing at parks around the state. Earlier this year, nine of Alabama’s State Parks were honored with the Award of Excellence from TripAdvisor. This is an honor reserved for the top tier of attractions, hotels, parks and restaurants out of the thousands of attractions around the globe.
In order to continue receiving these great reviews, the parks are continually improving to meet guests’ needs and changing outdoor preferences. The state parks are currently looking to expand concession agreements throughout the state, similar to the zip line course at Gulf State Park and cable ski system recently installed at Oak Mountain State Park.
“We pride ourselves in providing a world-class experience at all of our state parks for Alabamians and tourists alike,” Greg Lein, director of the Alabama State Parks said. “We are continually looking for ways to improve our parks, and this is only possible with the great partners around the state and the continued support of our legislature. At Alabama’s State Parks, partners pay the way. With 22 parks all over the state and 48,000 acres to maintain and improve each year, volunteers are crucial to the success of the parks.”
Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, the Alabama State Parks is a division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The division operates and maintains 22 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. Download the State Parks app at pocketranger.com. For more information about Alabama State Parks, go online to www.alapark.com.