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Alabama Power volunteers remove graffiti at Noccalula Falls Park

Alabama Power Service Organization volunteers assisted in cleaning up Noccalula Falls Park by clearing trash and erasing graffiti from rock formations.

Teaming up with the Southeastern Climbers Coalition during the fall season, 25 APSO members from Alabama Power’s Eastern Division worked to improve the park’s environment, particularly for climbers.

SCC’s Kate Hanes, who directed the cleanup, emphasized the ongoing need for such initiatives and applauded the park’s efforts against graffiti. She expressed gratitude to APSO for its positive influence on the park and Gadsden community.

“It makes a significant difference to have APSO volunteers give their time and efforts to prevent the situation from getting worse,” Hanes said. “It is not a one and done project, but it has gotten so much better.

“The park has done an amazing job at mitigating the graffiti efforts, and we are so thankful for APSO and its positive impact on the park and community of Gadsden.”

Noccalula Falls plummets morethan 90 feet into Black Creek ravine. The park encompasses 500 acres in the highlands of Alabama’s Appalachian Mountain range, with 15 miles of trails, stunning rock formations, gardens and other attractions.

Since opening in 1953, Noccalula Falls Park has drawn hikers, campers and families from all over the world, according to the park website. But some of the rocks along the park’s trails have been defaced with graffiti over time.

According to Hanes, graffiti damages slow-growing lichens and prevents them and mosses from growing on the rocks. With the park and SCC working together on developing rock-climbing as an attraction, the beauty of the rock formations is more important than ever.

“Since the 1960s, climbers have often visited the park to engage in informal climbing at Noccalula Falls,” Hanes said. “Last year, the SCC began collaborating with the park to formalize climbing and allow the sport to become another recreation that the park offers.”

APSO is a nonprofit organization made up of Alabama Power employees as well as Alabama-based employees of Southern Company and Southern Nuclear. APSO volunteers contribute tens of thousands of hours of their personal time annually to support education, safeguard the environment and enhance Alabama communities. The organization has nine chapters across the state.

“Working with companies like Alabama Power allows us to quickly remove the graffiti and prevent it from remaining for years,” Hanes said. “Alabama Power’s support makes a huge difference and changes the recurrent graffiti culture in the park.”

Grayson Everett is the state and political editor for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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