Forest Service Encourages the Public to Enjoy Dispersed Recreation Activities in Alabama’s National Forests

(Montgomery, AL) March 24 -The USDA Forest Service announces the opening of the 2017 recreation season for Alabama’s four national forests – Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega and Tuskegee. There’s a wide range of outdoor activities on public lands for the entire family to explore.  Forest Service officials are encouraging forest users to enjoy popular developed campgrounds; but can also explore dispersed recreation opportunities across the national forests such as camping, fishing, boating, water-play, bird-watching, hunting, horse riding, scenic driving, mountain-biking, swimming, off-road vehicle use (ORV) and hiking.   Dispersed recreation activities can have a reduced impact on national forest resources, if forest users follow principles such as “Leave No Trace” or  “Tread Lightly”, thus providing a lasting, quality outdoor experience for visitors now and in the future.

     According to Carl Petrick, forest supervisor of the National Forests in Alabama, whether our visitors hike, camp, fish, hunt or participate in other popular activities, they enjoy them because of the remarkable support from employees, visitors, volunteers, partners, local communities and stakeholders.  The National Forests in Alabama have 28 developed recreation sites offering modern amenities and numerous dispersed recreation sites such as trailheads, hunter camps and boat launches.  There’s also approximately 386 miles of designated trails for hiking, horse riding, mountain-biking and ORV use.  Of the 368 miles of designated trails, there are also approximately 77 miles of wilderness trails like Sipsey, Dugger and Cheaha.  The National Forests in Alabama have trails that cover the full range from easy, moderate and difficult. Most of the wilderness trails are difficult, but forest users can check out the Forest Service “Get Moving in Your National Forests” document at  to learn the trail difficulty, additional dispersed recreation activities, as well as outdoor opportunities at developed campgrounds.

     “Know Before You Drive” and check to see if a national forest road is open to motor vehicles on the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) at  You can print map sections at home (instructions are listed on the page) or download the map on your mobile phone through Avenza (keyword - National Forests in Alabama Category - Parks, Forests and Grasslands) that is located on the “Alabama Great Escape” free mobile app located at the google play or apple stores.  For national forests recreation information like the “U.S. Forest Service - National Forests in Alabama” Facebook page or follow us on Twitter at

     For more information about maps, discount passes, directions and fees visit the Forest Service website at or contact recreation specialists at the Bankhead District (205) 489-5111; Conecuh District (334) 222-2555; Shoal Creek District (256) 463-2272; Talladega District (256) 362-2909; Oakmulgee District (205) 926-9765; and the Tuskegee District (334) 727-2652.

Hiking on the Conecuh Trail   

Forest Service officials are encouraging forest users to “Connect to Nature” by exploring dispersed recreation activities such as hiking on the Conecuh Trail.