The Alabama State Parks System is implementing a new contingency operations plan that will go into effect on October 1 and includes closure of a number of parks and park operations, reduction in staff and operational hours at additional parks and park facilities, as well as a potential concession operation for one facility and other new approaches to serving the public. Beginning October 15, the following five parks will be closed: Bladon Springs, Paul Grist, Chickasaw, Florala and Roland Cooper.

In addition to the closure of these 5 parks, a number of parks and park facilities will reduce staff and operational hours. Changes include:
● Effective October 15, closure of Bucks Pocket campground and transition to an unmanned, day-use park to be managed by a nearby resort park.
● Effective November 15, Rickwood Caverns and Blue Springs to be closed during Fall and Winter, slated to reopen as seasonal business increases.
● Effective December 1, DeSoto and Cheaha hotel and restaurant will operate on weekends only.
● Effective October 15, closure of Bucks Pocket campground and transition to an unmanned, day-use park to be managed by a nearby resort park.
● We will attempt to transfer the golf course at Lakepoint to a concessionaire and if that is unsuccessful, the golf course will be closed.    

Over the last 5 years, more than $30 million has been transferred  from the ADCNR to the general fund to support other state programs. The state parks system alone has been forced to transfer half of the $30 million from its division. We spent months of tirelessly working to educate the public and legislative on the impact of 5th year of transfers would have on our system.

We can’t afford to run our current system with a continued loss of revenue due to this chronic problem of legislative transfers from our parks division to the general fund budget. These closures are going to negatively impact our state – from the citizens in the communities where they exist, to the dedicated staff at these parks who have worked so hard serving the public for many years.

We will continue to work with all interested parties to educate everyone on the importance of securing permanent and protected funding that will ensure that the entire park system remains open for all Alabamians throughout the state.

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting destination to cool down this summer, pack up the family and take off to Rickwood Caverns State Park in Warrior, Ala., just north of Birmingham. 
What makes Rickwood Caverns State Park unique is the massive cave that contains 260-million-year-old formations that were created by water and reveal evidence that the cave was carved from an ocean bed. And if you’re looking to cool off from the sweltering summer temperatures, the underground wonder maintains a constant 58-62 degree temperature as you travel 175 feet beneath the earth. 
The main attraction is the guided tour. Rickwood Caverns State Park also offers a gift shop, picnicking, gemstone mining, camping, playground, and hiking the Fossil Mountain Hiking Trail, which got its name from the leaf and seashell imprints visible in some of the rocks. The park features an Olympic-size swimming pool, fed by chilly waters from the cave. There’s also a kiddie pool.
Area attractions
The Bankhead National Forest, Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, shopping and dining in downtown Birmingham, mountain biking at the Coldwater Mountain Forever Wild tract near Anniston, the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Birmingham Barons minor league baseball team, Sloss Furnace National Historic Landmark, Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, Forever Wild Turkey Creek Nature Preserve and many more.