Oak Mountain State Park

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Oak Mountain State Park
Oak Mountain State Park Lake Copy of IMG 8856.JPG
Two of the lakes at Oak Mountain State Park.
Oak Mountain State Park is located in Alabama
Oak Mountain State Park
Location of Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama
Type State park
Location 200 Terrace Drive
Pelham, Alabama, U.S.A.
Coordinates 33°18′56.124″N 86°46′24.0594″W / 33.31559000°N 86.773349833°W / 33.31559000; -86.773349833Coordinates: 33°18′56.124″N 86°46′24.0594″W / 33.31559000°N 86.773349833°W / 33.31559000; -86.773349833
Area 9,940 acres (4,020 ha)
Elevation 732 feet (223 m) [1]
Created 1927
Operated by Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Oak Mountain State Park is Alabama's largest state park at 9,940 acres (4,020 ha).[2] The park makes up the northeast quadrant of the city of Pelham and is 18 miles south (via I-65) of Birmingham, the state's largest city.

Activities include hiking, mountain biking, golf, swimming, camping, fishing, and horseback riding. Oak Mountain is also home to the Alabama Wildlife Center, the state's oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation facility,[3] and the Oak Mountain BMX racing track.[4]

A fee ($1–$3 as of 2012) is charged to enter the park.[2]

History[edit]

Oak Mountain was created when the State Land Act of 1927 granted the park the 940 acres (380 ha) between Double Oak Mountain and Little Oak Ridge. From 1934 to 1941, the park saw improvements made by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration. Remnants of the CCC era—foundations, bridges and other infrastructure, often made of stone quarried from within the park—can be seen throughout the park.[5] In 1943, the National Park Service (NPS) deeded the state park approximately 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) of surrounding land that the NPS had acquired in the 1930s.[5]

Further improvements beginning 1971 saw development of the golf course, pro shop, cottages, administrative buildings, demonstration farm and campgrounds in the area of Dry Brook basin and adjacent to the park's lakes.[5]

Activities and amenities[edit]

Beach/Day-Use Area - Double Oak Lake has many shaded picnic areas as well as covered pavilions for rent. The beach is a public swimming area with some volleyball courts. Paddle boats and canoes are available for rent.[2]

Fishing - Oak Mountain Fishing Center is located at the north end of Oak Mountain State Park, just inside the park's back gate, a half-mile from State Highway 119, five miles (8 km) east of Interstate 65 and three miles (5 km) west of US 280. The park has three fishing lakes, totaling 230 acres (93 ha), stocked with largemouth bass, bream, catfish and crappie. The park sells bait and rents flat-bottomed fishing boats. The park has facilities for launching private boats and allows the use of electric trolling motors. Fishing licenses are required and are available at the park.[6]

Hiking - The park has 51 miles (82 km) of trails.[7] Day hikes range from easy to moderate. One of the hikes includes an elevated trail from which one can view large cages containing birds such as owls and buzzards.[7]

Camping - The campground has 85 improved campsites with water and electricity and 60 non-electric sites.[8] Backcountry camping is also available.[9]

Horse Riding and Equestrian Camping - The 10.7-mile (17.2 km) Orange Trail (or Horse Trail) is dedicated to equestrian use; foot and bike traffic are not allowed.[7] The park opened a 12-site equestrian campground in 2011.[10] Guided horseback rides are also available.[11]

Golf - Oak Mountain Golf Course is a public, 18-hole golf course, playing at par 72. It was designed by Earl Stone, has been rated in the top 50-75 public golf courses by Golf Digest magazine, and has hosted qualifying rounds for the Alabama Open. Course amenities include Bermuda greens and tees, pro shop, on-course snack bar, driving range, chipping green, and practice green.[12]

  • Course statistics:[12]
    • Blue course: 6842 yards, USGA rating 71.7, slope 120
    • White course: 6341 yards, USGA rating 69.5, slope 116
    • Water on 9 of 18 holes, tree-lined fairways
    • 6 holes dogleg left, and 7 holes dogleg right
    • Course record (blue): 64, scored April 17, 1978
    • Toughest hole: #9, 382 yards, par 4
    • Easiest hole: #17, 141 yards, par 3

Hunting - Deer are commonly seen in the park—particularly at dusk and on the golf course. There are so many deer, in fact, that permits are issued during certain times of the year to allow bow-hunters to take deer within park boundaries.[13]

Mountain Biking -

  • The Red Trail is the park's 29-mile (47 km) long, purpose-built mountain biking trail. In November 2010, the International Mountain Bicycling Association named the system to its Epic Trail list,[14] which includes only 52 trails worldwide.[15] The Red Trail features 2200 total feet of climbing, one large 600-foot (180 m) climb, fast downhills and technical features for all levels of riding. There is no night riding allowed except for designated nights during the winter. The signature area of the trail is Blood Rock, a 20-yard (18 m) long very rocky descent crossing a small water spring.
  • A Pump Track was constructed in March 2012 and includes a designated, kid-friendly, beginner area as well as a large-scale track with beginner, intermediate and advanced lines. The Pump Track is located at the end of Tranquility Road near the BMX Track.

The Red Trail and Pump Track are maintained by a local group of volunteers called the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP).[16] Facilities to wash bikes and a change room are located at the south trailhead in the day-use area.[14] Riders are strongly recommended to wear helmets and yield the trail to pedestrian traffic.[14]

Oak Mountain Interpretive Center[edit]

Oak Mountain Interpretive Center encompasses 2,500 square feet (230 m2) of natural history exhibits, a meeting room and teaching lab. Live displays include native species of snakes, fish, turtles, and salamanders, and other exhibits explain the area's geography and geology. The facility is a joint venture among Oak Mountain State Park, Samford University, and Shelby County.[17]

Annual events[edit]

  • Bump N' Grind[14] mountain bike race (one of the largest in the southeastern US).
  • Oak Mountain 50K trail run.[18]
  • Xterra Southeast Championship off-road triathlon.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Oak Mountain State Park". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ a b c "Oak Mountain State Park". Alabama State Parks. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  3. ^ "Alabama Wildlife Center". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  4. ^ "Oak Mountain BMX". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  5. ^ a b c "Oak Mountain State Park Master Plan Executive Summary". Friends of Oak Park. 2003. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  6. ^ "Boat Rentals". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  7. ^ a b c "Trails". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  8. ^ "Camping". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  9. ^ "Back Country Camping". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  10. ^ "Equestrian Campground". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  11. ^ "Stables". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  12. ^ a b "Golf Course". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  13. ^ "Oak Mountain Deer Hunts Scheduled for 2012-13". Outdoor Alabama. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. June 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  14. ^ a b c d "Mountain Biking Trails". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  15. ^ "IMBA Epic Rides". International Mountain Bicycling Association. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  16. ^ "About Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers". Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  17. ^ "Oak Mountain Interpretive Center". Oak Mountain State Park. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  18. ^ "Oak Mountain 50K". Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  19. ^ "XTERRA: The Premier Offroad Triathlon and Trail Run Series". Retrieved 2012-11-23. 

External links[edit]