The Oak Mountain State Park Demonstration Farm will soon close and the area will be developed into a dog park and event space. The farm is scheduled to remain open through April 30, as park officials work to find retirement homes for the remaining animals.
“We understand that the demo farm has been a treasured part of Oak Mountain State Park for a long time,” said Scottie Jackson, Central District Superintendent for Alabama State Parks. “This decision was not taken lightly, but we want to do what is best for the aging animals by making sure we find them happy retirement homes. We’ve always kept the well-being of the animals as a top priority, and that’s why we’ve been careful about who we allowed to adopt these animals.”
Retirement homes for many of the most popular animals have already been secured. The famous donkey, Taylor, lives on a park staff member’s farm and has a donkey friend named Polly. Princess, the elderly mini horse, also lives with Taylor and Polly and enjoys spending time with her other horse friends.
Many goats, cows and chickens have found forever homes with families. A few residents remain and are heading to homes hand-selected by park staff, who are conducting careful vetting to find appropriate homes for the aging animals.
“We also realize that closing the farm will be disappointing to many of our longtime visitors, but we must do what’s best for the animals and for the long-term future of Oak Mountain State Park,” Jackson said. “That’s why we’re also excited about creating a new amenity at the park for our visitors to enjoy.”
The iconic red barn located near the park’s main entrance will remain. It will be renovated and become a rental venue for parties, weddings and other events.
The nearby area formally used by the demonstration farm will be developed into a dog park, including a small retail area for purchasing treats, toys and other items. The event space and dog park will be separated by fencing. Additional new features will likely be added to the dog park over time. The stables and facilities for guided horseback riding will not be affected by the changes.
Park officials report an increasing number of visitors arriving with dogs. The addition of a dog park will make it easier for dog owners to interact with their pets in a safe environment. There will be no fee to use the dog park after visitors pay the Oak Mountain State Park entrance fee at the gate.
“We understand change isn’t always easy,” said State Parks Director Greg Lein. “We believe this is in the best interest of the animals and for the future of Oak Mountain State Park. We hope everyone will embrace these new amenities as we continue to improve all of our state parks.”
About Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain State Park is Alabama’s largest state park and features more than 11,000 acres, including more than 50 miles of trails, an 18-hole golf course and driving range, horseback riding facilities, fishing lakes, boat rentals, picnic and beach areas and majestic Peavine Falls. The Alabama Wildlife Center, located inside OMSP, offers rehabilitation services to injured native birds to return them to the wild. The resident birds can be viewed from the Tree Top Nature Trail, an elevated boardwalk winding through a secluded woodland valley. Learn more at www.alapark.com/parks/oak-mountain-state-park.
ADCNR’s State Parks System
Alabama State Parks is a division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and maintains 21 state parks encompassing more than 50,000 acres of land and water in Alabama. The parks range from Gulf Coast beaches to the Appalachian Mountains and provide opportunities and facilities from basic day-use activities to resort convention lodging, restaurants and golfing areas. These parks rely on visitor fees and the support of other partners like local communities to fund the majority of their operations – Partners Pay the Way. For reservations, visit www.alapark.com/online-reservations.
Learn more at www.alapark.com.