Alabama’s Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
From the gulf coast beaches in the southwest to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast, Alabama offers some of the most diverse natural playgrounds in the nation. Home to four national forests and one national preserve, Alabama has great resources for hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, and birding.
Ranked first in the nation with the amount of navigable waterways and as one of the top 10 states with the highest number of river and stream miles, Alabama’s waterways are virtually unparalleled in their opportunities for outdoor water sports. Alabama’s 22 state parks range in size and are as diverse as the state’s landscape; they provide both daytime and extended stay facilities for residents and tourists.
Combine Alabama’s temperate climate with its natural resources and availability of public lands, and it’s no wonder that Alabamians – both children and adults – want to play outside.
Financial resources made available through the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) have greatly assisted the state and local governments in Alabama in providing outdoor recreation resources for public use.
As part of maintaining eligibility for the LWCF program, the State of Alabama must ensure relevant, influential and timely planning for the State’s use of LWCF apportionment. To meet that requirement, the State of Alabama prepares a new Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) every five years.
Public participation in the development of the 2008 SCORP included coordination with related agencies and organizations, an extensive statewide telephone survey and public meetings. A database was developed with contact information for 1,200 outdoor recreation stakeholders.
The Alabama SCORP serves as a guide for local, state and federal agencies in the development and provision of future outdoor recreation and natural resource development in Alabama.
Trails are an integral part of our history. From animal paths through the woods to the exploration of our country to planned and designed long-distance recreational treks, trails have moved us from Point A to Point B for any number of reasons.
As old as the trail concept may be, each new trail brings an excitement that comes with a first discovery. In the last 25 years, Alabamians have embraced the resurgence of the recreational trail movement that has swept the United States following the creation of the National Trails System by Congress in 1968.
The Alabama Trail Plan has been prepared as a companion document to the Alabama Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (2008-2012 SCORP).
The public involvement process for both the Alabama Trail Plan and the Alabama SCORP were conducted simultaneously. Four methods were used to obtain public participation in the SCORP planning process: coordination with related agencies and organizations, an extensive telephone survey, public meetings and websites.
The Alabama Trail Plan includes six separate components, organized as chapters: trail definitions, a trail inventory, trail demand and resources, trail benefits, identification of trail issues and barriers to use, and the trail strategy.
The trail definitions chapter discusses the differences between recreational trails and other types of trails, what characteristics constitute a recreational trail, and categorizes trails by use into categories for trail planning purposes. The inventory is an initial compilation of existing recreational trails in Alabama. A chapter on trail demand and resources is included to insure that future meet the trail needs of Alabama citizens. Discussion of trail benefits provides information that may encourage more active participation in recreational trail use and development by various groups, while the discussion of trail issues and barriers is designed to determine how barriers can be minimized or eliminated to make trails more accessible to use by all population groups.
The planning boundary areas of Alabama’s 12 Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) were used for the analysis and evaluation of demographic, physical characteristics, trail inventory information, and demand and need data. These regional areas segment the state into smaller, more manageable planning units.
Planning grants and technical assistance available from the Department of Interior under provisions of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 have assisted Alabama in planning, developing, and publishing its most recent SCORP.
Office of Equal Opportunity
U.S. Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C. 20204