Friday, July 1, 2016 - 3:30pm
The Alabama State Parks Division, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will soon begin negotiations to reopen Roland Cooper State Park near Camden, Ala. If negotiations are successful, the park will reopen under a concessionaire contract with an Arizona based management company, Recreational Resources Management (RRM), Inc. While there is no official timeline for the potential reopening of the park at the present, conservation officials are hopeful to conclude the process as quickly as possible.
Roland Cooper was one of five state parks to close due to budget constraints in 2015. Since then, Bladon Springs, Florala and Paul M. Grist state parks have reopened under agreements with local municipalities. The Roland Cooper site is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased to the Alabama State Parks Division.
In June 2016, the parks division began accepting bids for the operation, by concession contract, of all or a portion of park operations at Roland Cooper. Parks was contacted by 19 interested parties, but RRM was the only concessionaire to submit a bid.
“We are thrilled at the opportunity to begin a discussion that could reopen Roland Cooper,” said Greg Lein, State Parks Director. “RRM has many years of experience working with state and federal agencies in the operation of parks similar to this one. We are hopeful to once again offer this resource to all Alabamians and visitors from other states.”
The prospective bid covers most aspects of the park’s operations except the nine-hole Deer Haven Golf Course, which can possibly be bid on by a different concessionaire or be repurposed for other park-related programs under a new master plan for the park site and other nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites. RRM has also expressed interest in operating the park for an extended term of up to 12 years. The extended term would be contingent upon all parties’ satisfaction with the first two years of the agreement.
RRM has 25 years of park operations experience and presently manages more than 30 concession contracts covering 125 campgrounds, park stores, marinas, and day use areas in 11 states. RRM has managed sites for the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, California State Parks, Arizona State Parks, and TVA sites including one in Alabama. Its regional headquarters are based in California, Arizona, Minnesota and Florida.
Roland Cooper State Park features camping, cabins, pavilions, fishing and boating. The park is also a stop on the Alabama Bass Trail and a weigh-in station for the state regulated alligator hunts. For more information about the park, visit www.alapark.com/roland-cooper-state-park.
For photos of Roland Cooper State Park, visit the Outdoor Alabama Flickr.
The Alabama State Parks Division relies on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations. To learn more, visit www.alapark.com.