An update on the “largest park in the state”

The Shelby County Chamber hosted “An Update on Oak Mountain State Park” with District Naturalist Scottie Jackson and Park Naturalist Lauren Massey.

During the program, held March 30 at the Pelham Civic Complex, Massey gave a brief history of the park, which began with 940 acres of land in 1927 that began around the Peavine Falls area which s extended to what is now Lake Tranquility.

In the early 1930s, Civilian Conservation Corps Company 487 began work on the park project, but was later called in to build Yosemite National Park.

While OMSP was originally intended to be a national park, after the attack on Pearl Harbor much of the funding went to the war effort. The Works Progress Administration then stepped in to help complete the park.

In 1943, the National Park Service deeded 8,000 acres to what is now OMSP, which now totals 11,584 acres, making it the largest park in the state. With the expansion to 1,644 acres at the end of 2021, Massey said they are now able to protect over 1,000 acres of truly important endangered species and beautiful habitats.

“OMSP has incredible natural resources and our biodiversity (different life) is phenomenal,” Massey said. “Alabama ranks 4th in biodiversity in the United States and 1st east of the Mississippi. We have so much life in any given area that we are actually considered the American Amazon. scientists from around the world who come to Alabama to study our natural resources because we are incredibly rich in biodiversity.

Located 17 miles from Birmingham city centre, OMSP offers a plethora of activities including fishing, camping, horse riding, beaches, an archery park, demonstration farm, boating boating, hiking, golfing, geocaching, mountain biking, bird watching and more. Annual events include Fire on the Water, a harvest festival in the fall, and an Easter egg hunt in the spring.

OMSP is also home to the Alabama Interpretive Center and Wildlife Center. The park’s educational opportunities include field trips, animal encounters, and educational workshops.

During the 2022 World Games in July, OMSP will host canoeing, orienteering and water skiing

We are delighted to be part of it. It’s going to bring a lot of revenue to the region, so we’re really excited to be one of the hosts of the games.

For more information or to donate to the Alabama State Parks Foundation, visit asparksfoundation.org.

Dino J. Dotson