Oak Mountain State Park to gain more than 1,600 acres

By NATHAN HOWELL | Staff Writer

PELHAM – During its Aug. 5 meeting, the Alabama Forever Wild Board of Trustees approved the acquisition of more than 1,600 acres of land, which will be added to Oak Mountain State Park.

This purchase will increase the size of Alabama’s largest state park to well over 11,000 acres, and expand it further toward the Chelsea and Greystone communities.

It was reported in late 2020 that Alabama Forever Wild was considering purchasing the land from EBSCO, a Birmingham-based information services company, who nominated the Forever Wild Land Trust to receive the property as an addition to OMSP.

After a unanimous vote, the board will conduct an additional appraisal and buy the 1,611 stretch of property which includes features like King’s Chair and the area known as Belcher Tract, that is often used by hikers and nature enthusiasts.

“This will do many positive things for the park and the public in general” OMSP Superintendent Kelly Ezell said in a previous interview. “It will protect the absolutely beautiful view-shed from King’s Chair and provide many opportunities for people in the Birmingham-metropolitan area to recreate, especially as our attendance continues to grow.”

Public lands are increasing in popularity. In 2020, Alabama’s state parks saw an increase of more than 1.5 million visitors to its state parks. The addition of this land will provide more opportunities for fishing, hiking, horseback riding, biking and more to continue attracting guests.