Labor Day weekend in Alabama marks two major events for citizens of our state: the unofficial end of summer and the official start of college football season. As the leaves eventually begin to change and fall temperatures start to prevail, many Alabamians will spend their Saturdays over the next few months focused on their favorite team and tracking their fantasy leagues.
Alabamians’ love for parks extends much further than the Saturdays spent at the ballpark. Parks of all kinds are important to our communities; national and state parks provide dozens of options for people to go unwind. As you prepare for your Labor Day adventure and officially kick off fall, I encourage you to get outside and experience some of the amazing opportunities in Alabama’s State Parks as well as the thousands of attractions that can be found in city, county, and National Parks.
Last week the National Park Service (NPS) celebrated 100 years of service and stewardship. Alabama’s State Parks are celebrating their 77th year of service. These incredible public lands are much more than simply protected lands; they are outlets for cultural, historical and environmental education. Parks also give citizens countless opportunities for recreation and help provide an exceptional quality of life with scores of recreational options.
The Alabama State Parks system protects more than 47,000 acres of land across the state and offers dozens of recreational options. Within Alabama’s State Parks you’ll find hundreds of miles of trails, golf courses, mountain top views, serene beachfront, luxury resorts, ziplines, archery courses and museums that tell the story of Native Alabamians and early pioneers. These parks are as diverse and distinct as the guests that visit them each year. Parks provide opportunities for people of all backgrounds. Regardless of socioeconomic background, education, and physical ability, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the parks.
Our leaders had the choice generations ago of whether to keep these lands available to citizens. They made the right decision to keep our parks available to future generations. We hope all these amazing public lands will still be available to all Americans in the next century.
The citizens of Alabama are faced with a decision this November about whether they want their State Parks preserved for future generations. A “yes” vote on Amendment 2 on the November 8 ballot is a vote to help ensure our incredible State Parks will remain available and thriving for future generations. The proposed Constitutional Amendment would protect the State Park system’s money, keeping it within the parks and preventing it from being taken and used elsewhere. Since almost all of the money in the State Parks’ budget comes from Parks’ users, it is only right for those funds to remain in the Parks.
Let’s continue to celebrate our “Parks Heritage” during this centennial year and let us come together to ensure the future of our State Parks by voting “Yes” on Amendment 2 – and encourage all your friends and neighbors to do likewise.
Greg Lein is the Director of Alabama’s State Parks.