June is now officially Great Outdoors Month! A presidential proclamation issued June 1, 2012, urges all Americans to take advantage of the country’s rich natural heritage by spending time outdoors. Alabamians are fortunate to have many outdoor recreational opportunities to choose during June and year round.

The theme of Great Outdoors Month is to introduce or re-introduce people to the wonders of nature. Alabama’s 22 state parks support that theme by showcasing a range of natural settings from the sandy beaches of Gulf State Park to the challenging hikes of several north Alabama parks. Each Alabama state park offers a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, boating, mountain bike trails, horseback riding, and even a BMX track at Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham.

In addition to rugged outdoor activities, Alabama’s five resort state parks offer more refined accommodations from which to enjoy the state’s natural beauty including recently renovated lodges, hotel rooms and cabins. You can also enjoy the outdoors during a round of golf on one the six Park’s Path championship golf courses. Visit the Alabama State Parks website, www.alapark.com, for a complete list of activities and accommodations.

State parks aren’t the only option you have to celebrate Great Outdoors Month. The state also has 23 public fishing lakes, thousands of miles of rivers, and several large reservoirs; each boast excellent fishing. Saltwater fishing from the Gulf State Park Pier, one of the longest piers on the Gulf of Mexico, is also a great option for spending time outside.

For two decades, Alabama’s Forever Wild Trust has worked to expand the number of natural areas available to the public so that present and future generations can enjoy quality-of-life opportunities the outdoors offers. Today Forever Wild has more than 227,000 acres of land with hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking opportunities available to everyone. To choose your Forever Wild adventure visit www.alabamaforeverwild.com.

Explore www.outdooralabama.com to see what Alabama has to offer during Great Outdoors Month and year round.

Logo courtesy of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

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