Partnerships Keep the Gates Open
This spring brings a return to normal operational hours for Rickwood Caverns State Park and certain facilities at DeSoto and Cheaha state parks. The Buck’s Pocket State Park campground remains closed for now, but the rest of the park will continue to operate as a day-use area. These seasonal changes remain in effect through fall 2016.
Legislative transfers in 2015 necessitated a seasonal schedule for select state parks that included closing the DeSoto and Cheaha hotels and restaurants and all facilities at Rickwood during winter months. The Buck’s Pocket campground was also closed.
State Park seasonal openings:
- DeSoto State Park hotel and restaurant is currently open seven days a week.
- Cheaha State Park hotel and restaurant is currently open seven days a week.
- Rickwood Caverns State Park, including the campground, will reopen April 1. The park’s swimming pool reopens this summer, date TBA.
Blue Springs State Park, also slated for a seasonal schedule, was able to remain open throughout the winter thanks to volunteers and other local partners.
Some state parks that were closed last fall have reopened through local partnerships. Florala and Paul M. Grist state parks are currently open and being operated by local government partners. Bladon Springs State Park in rural Choctaw County will soon open through a lease agreement between the county and the Alabama State Parks Division. There are also ongoing efforts to reopen Roland Cooper State Park through similar partnerships.
The public is encouraged to visit these parks as often as possible during the seasonal openings. About 90 percent of the annual funding to operate state parks comes from user fees such as lodging, gate entries, camping and meeting space rentals. As a user-funded system, Alabama’s state parks are made possible in large part by visitors utilizing park resources.
To plan your next Alabama State Park adventure, visit www.alapark.com.
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 about Alabama State Parks, visit www.alapark.com.