Forest Service Predicts a Busy Recreation Season in Alabama’s National Forests

Release Date: Mar 22, 2012  


Visitors have over 100 places to visit in Alabama's four national forest.

 (Montgomery, Al) March 22, 2012---- The U.S. Forest Service is gearing up for the opening of the 2012 recreation season with anticipation of another busy year. Visitors looking for something different when planning vacations, reunions, day trips, or places to exercise can visit recreation sites in the Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega, and Tuskegee National Forests. The majority of recreation sites are now open with improvements thanks to volunteers and recreation enhancement fees.  The Forest Service is encouraging the public to plan ahead by visiting their website at www.fs.usda.gov/alabama or contacting a Forest Service district office for directions, recreation activities, safety tips, special event dates and fee amounts.

The Forest Service manages 27 recreation sites and more than 331 miles of trails throughout the Alabama’s national forests.  Outdoor enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy group picnic shelters, campgrounds, fishing ponds, sandy-white beaches, and numerous trails designated for hiking, horse-back riding, mountain bikes, bird watching, and off-road vehicles. 

The Bankhead, Talladega, and Conecuh National Forests have developed campgrounds where visitors enjoy electricity, warm showers, and other modern conveniences.  Tuskegee National Forest has areas for primitive camping, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, horse-back riding and fishing. 

According to Joe Nicholson, Forest Service recreation unit leader for Alabama’s national forest, visitors can expect an enhanced recreation experience at several of the sites. Last year, the Forest Service collected $208,687 in recreation user fees that are used in maintaining and improving facilities, trails and land that users expect and enjoy.  For example, a significant portion of the fees was used to repair recreation sites and trails damaged by the 2011 tornadoes and other severe weather events in Alabama’s forests.  Nicholson said, “Volunteers opened a trail by clearing down trees and limbs after severe weather on the Owl Creek Trail System.”  Thanks to volunteers and recreation enhancement fees, Forest Service employees complete vital tasks to maintain sites. Project work includes trail maintenance, habitat improvement projects, tree planting, repairing signs/buildings, and hosting educational programs.

One of the busiest weekends of the year is just around the corner - Memorial Day.   It marks the ending of the school year and the beginning of summertime fun.  During this holiday, the majority of our recreation sites and campgrounds are operating at or near full capacity.  Early reservations are strongly encouraged.  Reservations for some of the group shelters are on a first come – first serve basis.  The cost for group shelter reservations range from $20-$50 and day-use area parking fees are $3 per vehicle.

For more information about recreation sites, outdoor events, or volunteer opportunities please contact your nearest Forest Service District office or the central office in Montgomery at (334) 832-3370.  Bankhead District in Double Springs – (205) 489-5111, Conecuh District in Andalusia – (334) 222-2555, Shoal Creek District in Heflin – (256) 463-2272, Talladega District in Talladega – (256) 362-2909, Oakmulgee District in Centreville – (205) 926-9765, and the Tuskegee District in Tuskegee – (334) 727-2652.

Recreation Sites Schedule