Ward-sponsored recreational bill passes State House

A Cam Ward-sponsored bill aimed at creating a statewide Trails Commission passed the Alabama House of Representatives Feb. 16, and will now be considered by the State Senate.

Rep. Ward, R-Alabaster, sponsored the bill along with Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, which was recommended by the Alabama Recreation Trails Advisory Board.

If passed, the legislation would create the Trails Commission as part of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. The commission would oversee trail design, construction and maintenance for hiking, biking, running, horseback riding, off-road vehicles and water sport locations throughout the state.

“There is no greater place to be than outdoors in Alabama, and Senator Mitchell and I wanted to capitalize on that fact,” Ward wrote in a press release. “This will be a great opportunity to promote the many recreational venues we have in Alabama.”

The 12-person commission would be composed of members of the Alabama Department of Transportation, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Department of Tourism, Department of Economic and Community Affairs, trail users, city and county government officials and business owners.

The legislation would also establish a nonprofit foundation to raise funds for the Trails Commission.

“Areas such as Oak Mountain State Park will really benefit in the long term, because this legislation would offer great state assistance in maintenance and development of existing hiking trails at the park,” Ward wrote.