Alabama Outdoor Recreation Round-Up
A quarterly newsletter of The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development in partnership with the Alabama Trails Commission
April 2023
About This Newsletter

In Alabama, the outdoors is a big deal. We have an abundance of extraordinary and one-of-a-kind natural assets. Yet, according to a report by Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Outdoor Recreation represents an underdeveloped economic opportunity for Alabama. Thoughtful investment in planning and developing new facilities, maintaining existing facilities, and developing and sustaining marketing, public information, and public engagement programming will not only bring positive economic impacts through tourism spending, but will help Alabama attract and retain a talented and highly skilled workforce. 

With many public agencies, local governments, volunteer groups, and private businesses dedicating resources to moving Alabama forward, great things are happening in our state that we all need to know about! We’re working with these organizations to bring the latest news on outdoor recreation development around our state right to your inbox. If you are interested in helping shape the future of outdoor recreation in Alabama, visit our website at

Alabama Forestry Commission Makes Recreational Enhancements at State Forests
Historic Lookout Tower at Flagg Mountain, Weogufka State Forest
Photo Courtesy: Brian Rushing
The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) manages around 18,000 acres of land across 13 state forest units. This land serves multiple purposes, including for timber, wildlife and outdoor recreation. The larger state forests offer recreational activities like hunting, fishing, canoeing/kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and camping. For more information on activities available on each state forest, visit AFC’s website.
The state’s 2022 bond sale raised $80 million for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and $5 million for the Alabama Historical Commission. It also provided about $6.7 million in bond premium to the AFC for enhancements in state forests. The AFC plans to focus the bond funding on three state forests with significant current and historical recreational use. Planning is underway to implement the following types of projects by fall of 2025:

  • Little River State Forest (Monroe & Escambia Counties) - re-establish utilities at the site and develop and implement a master plan to re-open the facility to the public with new day use and overnight facilities, including full hookup RV campsites.

  • Geneva State Forest (Geneva County) – develop a master plan around the Geneva State Forest Lake to identify and implement enhancements to recreational trails and other day-use facilities as well as overnight camping facilities.

  • Weogufka State Forest (Coosa County) – implement components of the Weogufka State Forest Recreational Site Use Plan (August 2020), with initial focus on providing water service and restroom facilities at the site. 

For more information, contact Hank Burch, Asset Planning Director with AFC, at (251) 331-2194 or [email protected]
New gate along entrance road at Weogufka State Forest
Photo Courtesy: Nathan Wright
BUMP Debuts a New Black Diamond Mountain Bike Gravity Trail at Oak Mountain State Park
"Tails" ribbon cutting on January 7, 2023
Photo Courtesy: SORBA
Alabama State Parks enjoys a long-standing partnership with the local chapters of Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) around the state, which provide thousands of volunteer hours each year in building and maintaining mountain bike trails. On January 7, 2023, the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP) chapter unveiled the latest mountain bike trail to be added to the Alabama State Parks system at Oak Mountain State Park, called the “Tails” trail. Tails is only half a mile in length, but this black diamond (“very difficult”) gravity trail features technical rocky sections, rollers, table tops, and berms that will provide a great adrenaline rush for seasoned downhill mountain bikers. A gift from Fox Factory’s Trail Trust grant program funded the trail’s design and construction and BUMP members contributed 30 hours to the building process. This trail will be a wonderful complement to the more than 30 miles of existing mountain bike trails at Oak Mountain State Park.
100 Alabama Miles Challenge
Celebrates 6th Season
100 Alabama Miles kickoff event participants at Railroad Park in Birmingham
Photo Courtesy: Greg Wingo
Public engagement programs are vital for inspiring participation in outdoor recreation. One of Alabama’s leading programs is the 100 Alabama Miles Challenge. This free public program encourages all Alabamians to get 100 miles of activity each year whether they run, walk, hike, bike, swim, paddle, ride or roll and to do so by visiting our state’s iconic outdoor recreation destinations. As they log their miles, participants earn electronic badges for milestones they reach and destinations they visit and can compete with friends, family, classmates, and co-workers. Since the program’s beginning in 2018, participants have logged over 212, 000 miles.
The official statewide kick-off for the 2023 season is Saturday, April 22, which is also Earth Day and Celebrate Trails Day. UACED, along with its program partners, invite Alabamians to participate in kick-off events planned for the 22nd or later in Alabaster, Anniston, Athens, Gulf State Park, Historic Blakeley State Park, Hoover, Jacksonville, Madison, Mobile, Prattville, Scottsboro, & Sylacauga. For more information on event dates, times, and locations, visit the program’s Facebook page.
Alabama's Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan is an Important Tool!

The 2021 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) is an important tool for helping outdoor recreation funders, planners, developers, operators, and user groups make informed decisions about how to enhance the delivery of outdoor recreation services to all Alabama residents. The plan provides key insights into how to meet regional outdoor recreation needs. It also features strategic goals and objectives to help unite individual organizational efforts to achieve the statewide vision of enhancing health and quality of life for everyone by offering a variety of experiences that embrace social, environmental, and economic sustainability. To download the 2021 Alabama SCORP, visit the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ website. For a recording of our webinar showcasing the 2021 Alabama SCORP and its uses, you can download the video
For More Information
Please visit for more information about the latest in outdoor recreation developments and to learn about Alabama's Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). If you have any questions about the SCORP, contact Brian Rushing at (205) 915-5402 or [email protected].