Updates on OMSP given at SC Chamber luncheon

Published 8:33 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Alabama State Park Naturalist Lauren Massey provided the public with an overview of Oak Mountain State Park’s current updates and projects at the Shelby County Chamber community luncheon on Wednesday, March 30.

Massey gave a rundown of everything OMSP has to offer the public including its diverse wildlife, fauna population, beaches and hiking trails.

“We’re getting new bath-houses for the beaches which is really exciting,” she said. “We have various water sports available, mountain hiking, archery, we have our demonstration farm…we really have so many different activities for everyone.”

Massey also announced that in early January, OMSP officially acquired 1,611 acres of land purchased from EBSCO Industries, thus expanding the park from its already record breaking 9,940 acres to over 11,000 acres. She said the dynamic range of land acquired includes King’s Chair, which overlooks the entire area known as Belcher Tract, and will help further the park’s already impressive natural resources and biodiversity.

“We have amazing natural resources,” she said. “Our biodiversity is phenomenal. We have scientists from all over the world who travel here to study our biodiversity…we have everything from bobcats to every classification of squirrel to the occasional black bear that finds its way to Oak Mountain.”

Oak Mountain State Park has also started incorporating field trips for school children into their educational programs so children can explore the park and learn about Alabama’s diverse natural landscape.

“I like to say this is where students can come and color outside the lines,” Massey said. “I’m also happy to say we are completely booked with our field trips for the spring semester.  We have several educational programs where students can do guided hikes and art classes, all kinds of stuff are included to include everybody and every audience.”

Coming up in July will be the 2022 World Games, which Massey announced OMSP will be hosting a wide variety of outdoors events.

Acer, the Alabama Wildlife education ambassador screech owl, also made a special appearance to give attendees an up-close look at the wildlife protected on OMSP’s land.