Expanding the beauty of OMSP a good idea

FROM STAFF REPORTS / Editorial 

Oak Mountain State Park has long been one of the top tourist attractions in Shelby County. People from all across the state and beyond come to the area to see the tranquil views and take advantage of the many activities the park offers.

Currently, the park is situated on Oak Mountain between Interstate 65 and U.S. 280 running north and south and between Alabama 119 and County Road 11 from east to west.

In that space, the park takes up 9,940 acres of land, featuring beautiful waterfalls, creeks, hiking trails, lakes, views, a golf course, a mountain bike trail, a campground and so much more.

Now, in a new proposal being considered by Alabama Forever Wild, the park could add an additional 1,600 acres, which would expand it to more than 10,000 acres of serene mountain land.

The new area being considered is currently owned by EBSCO, who nominated the land earlier this year to the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust.

The property would expand to include an area of land running horizontal to County Road 11 starting near the County Road 36 intersection past Chelsea High School and up behind and just slightly past the Narrows neighborhood across from the County Road 41 intersection.

While the proposal is still in the early stages and not set in stone yet, it’s one that should move forward.

Shelby County has beautiful views throughout, but the mountainous range of Oak Mountain is special in its own way and something avid outdoors people cherish.

The new addition would preserve the view from one of the state’s most popular hiking destination, King’s Chair, by upholding the land’s tranquility and views for miles.

It would also add at least three more small lakes to the property and while there is nothing confirmed on what the area will be used for, it will likely add more hiking trails, biking trail and horse riding.

It’s unclear if there would be an additional entrance to the park added off of County Road 11, but it would open a portion of the park closer to the 280 area, especially for those living in the Chelsea and Greystone/County Road 41 area.

With so much developed land across one of the state’s largest counties, it’s nice to see the opportunity to preserve one of the most tranquil spots in the state.

It would be a smart move and something that would benefit Shelby County far into the future. We would not only see the protection of wildlife and land but more area to explore, meaning more people visiting a truly special place.