Oak Mountain State Park to repurpose demonstration farm into dog park

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, April 12, 2023

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By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Oak Mountain State Park will feature a new dog park for members of the community to enjoy as the Demonstration Farm undergoes repurposing.

The Oak Mountain State Park Demonstration Farm will soon close, and the area will be developed into a dog park and event space.

There is no official release for when the dog park will open, and the construction will continue to progress in time.

The farm will remain open until Sunday, April 30 as park officials work to find retirement homes for the remaining animals.

“We understand that the Demo Farm has been a treasured part of Oak Mountain State Park for a long time,” said Scottie Jackson, Central District Superintendent for Alabama State Parks. “This decision was not taken lightly, but we want to do what is best for the aging animals by making sure we find them happy retirement homes. We’ve always kept the well-being of the animals as a top priority, and that’s why we’ve been careful about who we allowed to adopt these animals.”

Retirement homes for many of the animals have already been obtained. Famous donkey, Taylor, now lives on an Oak Mountain State Park staff member’s farm.

“Many goats, cows and chickens have found forever homes with families,” read a press release. “A few residents remain and are heading to wonderful, hand-selected homes selected by our staff, who are conducting careful vetting to find appropriate homes for the aging animals.”

Jackson said staff realizes how important the Demonstration Farm was to many members of the community and attendees of Oak Mountain State Park, but that there are many exciting things to come with this new project.

“We also realize that closing the farm will be disappointing to many of our longtime visitors,” Jackson said. “But we must do what’s best for the animals and for the long-term future of Oak Mountain State Park. That’s why we’re also excited about creating a new amenity at the park for our visitors to enjoy.”

The red barn located near the park’s main entrance will remain, it will be renovated and become a rental venue for parties, weddings and other events.

The nearby area formally used by the demonstration farm will be developed into a dog park, including a small retail area for purchasing treats, toys and other items.

The event space and dog park will be separated by fencing, and other new features will likely be added to the dog park over time.

Other areas, such as the stables and facilities for guided horseback riding, will not be affected by the changes.

There will no additional fee to use the dog park after visitors pay the Oak Mountain State Park entrance fee at the gate.

OMSP officials report an increasing number of visitors who arrive with dogs, and said the additional of a dog park will make it easier for dog owners to interact with their pets in a safe environment.

“We understand change isn’t always easy,” State Parks Director Greg Lein said. “But we believe this is in the best interest of the animals and for the future of Oak Mountain State Park. We hope everyone will embrace these new amenities as we continue to improve all of our State Parks.”

More information on Oak Mountain State Park can be found at Alapark.com.