OMSP earns Hall of Fame honors

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MONTGOMERY – Seven Alabama State Parks earned nine Hall of Fame honors from TripAdvisor and 12 parks in the 22-park system earned Certificates of Excellence from the world’s largest travel website.

Overall, the parks received 16 Certificates of Excellence for 2018. To earn Hall of Fame recognition, a park, attraction or business must have received a Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years. The certificates are awarded based on users’ reviews and opinions on TripAdvisor.com.

Pelham’s Oak Mountain State Park is among the winning parks. The Hall of Fame winning parks are Cathedral Caverns State Park, Chewacla State Park, DeSoto State Park, Gulf State Park, Joe Wheeler State Park, Monte Sano State Park and Oak Mountain State Park.

“The most rewarding facet of this recognition is that it comes from visitors’ opinions and rankings,” said Greg Lein, Alabama State Parks Director. “For seven parks to receive Certificates of Excellence for five straight years is remarkable. We are so proud of our staff and volunteers for the hard work they do that is reflected by the high regard our visitors hold in the parks.”

According to TripAdvisor, to qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, a business must “maintain an overall TripAdvisor rating of at least four out of five; have a minimum number of reviews; and have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.”

The awards are announced annually in May. The Hall of Fame recognition for the Alabama State Parks system totaled nine as Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores was recognized in three areas: beaches/state parks/nature and parks/outdoor activities; state parks/piers and boardwalks, nature and parks, sights and landmarks, outdoor activities; and the Gulf State Park Campground for Specialty Lodging.

The other Hall of Fame designees are Cathedral Caverns State Park in Woodville (caverns and caves/nature and parks); Chewacla State Park in Auburn (state parks/nature and parks); DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne (state parks/nature and parks); Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville (state parks/nature and parks); Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville (state parks/nature and parks); and Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham (state parks/nature and parks/biking trails/outdoor activities).

Four parks – or parks attractions – were back-to-back winners, picking up Certificates of Excellence in 2017 and 2018. Those are Cheaha State Park in Delta, DeSoto Falls, Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail at Gulf State Park, Lake Guntersville State Park and Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City. Two parks were awarded Certificates of Excellence for the first time: Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort and Rickwood Caverns.