From The Tribune staff reports
SHELBY COUNTY — The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has announced that Oak Mountain State Park will be expanding.
Currently, the park has nearly 10,000 acres. The expansion will add 1,611 more acres. Park officials and the Forever Wild Board have been pursuing this land acquisition since 2020 when visits to the park increased by 50%, potentially related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
EBSCO owned the property. Last year the company formally nominated Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust to receive the tract of land.
Oak Mountain State Park was established by the Alabama State Lands Act of 1927, the park eventually expanded to its current state: 9,940 acres, making it Alabama’s largest state park.
The expansion follows news of a recently completed purchase of a 157-acre tract of land along Little River near DeSoto Falls by the department. The additional land expands DeSoto State Park, and it also protects critical habitat along Little River and maintains the pristine natural beauty of the DeSoto Falls area.
“The Alabama State Parks system is dedicated to preserving natural areas of our state, and that’s exactly what this land purchase accomplishes,” said Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship. “DeSoto Falls is one of Alabama’s true natural wonders, and we keep it that way by preserving the area for future generations to enjoy.”
That land acquisition, known as the Little River West Fork Tract, secures more than 1,000 feet of frontage along Little River, enhancing public access to the waterway above the falls and supporting the park’s mission to enhance public recreation and interpret the natural environment. It also compliments the state ownership of land at DeSoto Falls, as well as those of nearby Forever Wild property along the West Fork of Little River.
WBRC originally reported this story.