National Park Service to help create parks in Alabama, other Southern states

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, November 28, 2019

The National Park Service will provide consultants to help create eight local parks and other recreation and conservation areas in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida.

Park Service landscape architects and community planners work with local communities to help plan parks, trails, greenways and other open spaces, said Deirdre Hewitt, program manager for the park service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

In Mississippi, they’ll help the city of Marks redesign the park where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. began the Poor People’s Campaign, leading a mule train to Washington in 1968. The work would include new areas for hiking, biking and paddling.

In Opelika, Alabama, they’ll help create a master plan for Creekline Trails of Opelika. That’s envisioned as a system of nature trails and shared-use paths that will connect greenspaces with major roads and bike lanes citywide.

In a second Alabama project, Park Service employees will help Baldwin County put on multi-city meetings about its planned cross-county rails-to-trails project. They’ll also help with system-wide design and marketing standards for a multi-use trail connecting several cities.

Two South Carolina projects also are getting assistance. One is a master plan to create publicly accessible blueways and greenways in Florence County. Another is a plan to restore and rehabilitate the Rocky Point Community Forest and create a community support team that can care for it.

Kentucky also has two projects accepted for the program. Park service experts will help planners working to create an Ohio River Recreation Trail, starting with the 274-mile (441-kilometer) stretch from Portsmouth Ohio, to West Point, Kentucky. Others will work with the West Point Revitalization Committee in creating a trail along the path that naturalist John Muir took through Kentucky during his walk to the Gulf of Mexico.

In Florida, they’ll be helping to develop a plan that protects the archaeological history of the prehistoric Native American mounds at Chattahoochee while providing camping, increased access, and greater outdoor recreation opportunities.