By Anna Grace Moore
Conveniently located off of I-65 in Pelham, Alabama, Oak Mountain State Park is the largest state park in Alabama, covering 11,584 acres. It has three lakes for fishing and paddling, world class mountain biking trails and newly expanded and repaved lanes for road biking and hiking trails. The park also has a campground, an 18 hole golf course, an archery range, a demonstration farm, a large playground, guided horseback riding and more. Here, Oak Mountain State Park Event Coordinator Anna Jones talks about her experience helping coordinate some of The World Games’ events that were held at the park this summer.
What does it mean for Oak Mountain State Park and the Shelby County community to host The World Games’ water sports?
Oak Mountain State Park hosted the Canoe Marathon Competition and the Waterski and Wakeboarding Competitions on Double Oak Lake. We also hosted the Middle-Distance Orienteering Competition. It was an honor to be chosen as a competition venue by The World Games, and we are grateful to have been given the chance to share with the world the beauty of Alabama State Parks.
What events drew in the largest crowds, and why do you think that is?
Waterskiing and wakeboarding brought a large crowd. The weather was perfect for the days of the waterski and wakeboard competitions. Warm sun, fresh golden sand and cooling dips in the lake will always bring a crowd and are the perfect complement to watching athletes compete for the gold. The weather early in the week was not as favorable for the Canoe Marathon, but those who joined us to cheer on those athletes had a wonderful time!
Can you speak any on how Oak Mountain’s partnership with The World Games and other community events helps give back to the community?
We partner with many local charities and non-profits throughout the year to help support their fundraising efforts. It’s one of the most rewarding things Oak Mountain State Park can offer to our community outside of maintaining and protecting Alabama’s natural resources for current users and future generations. For The World Games specifically, we are proud to have been able to host competitions that brought visitors to the City of Pelham and highlighted Shelby County, Alabama.
As an event coordinator, what was your favorite event to help coordinate and your favorite event to attend? Why?
We were lucky to have the best venue management team assigned to Oak Mountain State Park for The World Games’ events that were hosted here. Working closely with them and all the organizations that donated their time and energy to help make The World Games a success and keep guests safe was by far my favorite part. Being able to greet park visitors from nearby counties and then those from across the globe was a treat. However, being reminded of the endless support and dedication that our park partners provide for Oak Mountain State Park continuously was magical. All of us at Oak Mountain State Park are forever grateful.
What can park lovers look forward to in the future when it comes to events held at Oak Mountain?
We host a broad variety of events throughout the year. From incredible educational programming provided by our interpretive team to the large-scale seasonal events we host and to the many organizations that have chosen Oak Mountain State Park as the venue to host their event, I can guarantee there is something happening continuously here, and there is something for everyone!
For more information on Oak Mountain State Park and its events, visit facebook.com/oakmountainsp and alapark.com/parks/oak-mountain-state-park.