Scenic DeSoto State Park grows by 157 acres following land purchase
One of Alabama’s scenic treasures has increased its footprint.
DeSoto State Park has added 157 acres after the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) completed a recent purchase of adjacent property.
The acquisition involved a tract of land along Little River and helps protect an area of critical habitat, according to a release from ADCNR.
“The Alabama State Parks system is dedicated to preserving natural areas of our state, and that’s exactly what this land purchase accomplishes,” outlined Chris Blankenship, commissioner of ADCNR. “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.”
DeSoto State Park runs along Lookout Mountain in northeast Alabama and is especially known for the 104-foot DeSoto Falls. The 3,502-acre park attracts visitors from around the country to its variety of accommodations and array of outdoor activities, including kayaking, fishing, hiking and zip-lining.
ADCNR’s purchase of the Little River West Fork Tract adds over 1,000 feet of frontage along Little River and broadens the public’s access to the waterway above the falls.
Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) represents the district in which DeSoto State Park resides. He applauded the expansion and pointed to the economic impact the park has on the area.
“I know how much Little River and DeSoto State Park mean to the people of northeast Alabama,” Ledbetter emphasized. “It’s a source of pride because of its natural beauty, and it’s also a huge driver for economic development because it draws so many tourists to the area. I’m proud of the foresight shown by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for preserving this amazing property so all Alabamians and tourists visiting our state can enjoy it for years to come.”
Acquisition of the land comes ahead of other planned infrastructure upgrades next year in the form of improvements to the swimming beach and resurfacing of parking areas.
Enhancing Alabama’s state parks has been a priority of Gov. Kay Ivey’s administration.
She voiced her support earlier this year for an $85 million bond issue to fund renovations throughout the park system. The bond measure, if approved by voters in 2022, is expected to increase tourism across the Yellowhammer State and boost recreational opportunities for Alabama residents.
The land addition in DeSoto State Park has already been met with enthusiasm from conservationists.
“It’s definitely good news for this land to become part of DeSoto State Park,” said Angela Shugart, executive director of Little River Waterkeeper. “Our organization is dedicated to promoting clean water, air and healthy communities. Thousands of visitors come to Lookout Mountain every year because of Little River, and this is another step in protecting it for generations to come.”
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia