Gov. Ivey, Division of Conservation and Alabama Energy promote outside recreation

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The importance of the state’s recreation and exceptional outdoor facilities, including The Preserves, was the focus of a recent event attended by Governor Kay Ivey, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and officials from Alabama Power.

The event took place at Flat Rock Park on Lake Harris in Lineville, one of Alabama Power’s 60 protected areas statewide. The Preserves are free recreation areas that offer hiking trails, fishing piers, boat docks, and numerous amenities for Alabamians and visitors.

“The economic impact of boating, fishing and outdoor recreation on these lakes is tremendous for communities like Wedowee and Randolph County,” Ivey said. “I appreciate the good job that the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is doing in managing our state’s fisheries and working with great partners like Alabama Power and the Alabama Legislature to provide quality boat access places to our people to get on the water.”

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey supports Alabama Power, Department of Conservation in promoting outdoor recreation from the Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

State Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship moderated the celebrations. Also in attendance were Alabama Power Executive Vice President of External Affairs Zeke Smith, Senator Randy Price and other state and local officials.

“I commend Commissioner Blankenship and his team for working in communities like this to build boat ramps that can host major state and regional tournaments across our state,” Ivey said. “Thousands of people who come to these events enjoy our well managed fisheries. They also help support the surrounding communities.”

Blankenship emphasized the importance of public access to recreation and the state’s natural wonders.

“We have such beautiful lakes and beautiful nature in Alabama,” Blankenship said. “It’s so important that people can access it. The Preserves that you have here at Harris Reservoir, as well as those at Lake Martin and other places in the state, really give people the opportunity to get out, enjoy the water, enjoy the trees and enjoy the great outdoors, and that really means much for the quality of life of the people, especially in these rural communities.”

The event took place under a custom built pavilion, The Perch, constructed in the Black Belt region from local Osage Orange wood. Preserved sites leverage nature and local culture by borrowing specific elements and using Alabama makers.

Smith thanked Ivey and Blankenship for their partnership to help keep Alabama’s lakes safe, accessible and among the most beautiful in the nation.

“We created The Preserves on protected land to do just that — to preserve and build upon the great natural resources that we have here in the state of Alabama,” Smith said.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey speaks at Flat Rock Park promoting outdoor recreation in the state. (Governor’s Office)

Zeke Smith, Alabama Power’s executive vice president of external affairs, speaks during a press conference at Flat Rock Park. (Nik Layman/Alabama NewsCenter)

Gov. Kay Ivey (center) poses for a photo with Alabama Powers The Preserves employees. (Nik Layman/Alabama NewsCenter)

Gov. Kay Ivey (center) poses for a photo with employees of Alabama Power’s The Preserves. (Nik Layman/Alabama NewsCenter)

Zeke Smith, Alabama Power's executive vice president of external affairs, speaks during a press conference at Flat Rock Park. (Nik Layman / Alabama NewsCenter)

Zeke Smith, Alabama Power’s executive vice president of external affairs, speaks during a press conference at Flat Rock Park. (Nik Layman/Alabama NewsCenter)

The event at Flat Rock Park is attended by, from left, Terry Smiley, Chris Blankenship, and Zeke Smith. (Nik Layman / Alabama NewsCenter)

Attending the event at Flat Rock Park are (from left) Terry Smiley, Chris Blankenship and Zeke Smith. (Nik Layman/Alabama NewsCenter)

Smith shared highlights of Alabama’s unique outdoor amenities and how they raise residents’ standards of living and support tourism.

“You think of the wealth we have in this state and its natural resources. We lead the nation in navigable waterways, about two-fifths of our state is forested, and our water mass per mile is ahead of our neighbors,” Smith said. “We have a rich abundance of natural resources, and we see it in the outdoor recreation activities that we have in Alabama. As a company, we want to continue to do our part to leverage this strength.”

He said facilities like The Preserves and other outdoor recreation infrastructure could help attract a highly skilled workforce and attract businesses. That’s a key finding of Ivey’s report from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution for the Alabama Innovation Commission. The report finds that Alabama’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation offerings can help fuel an innovative economy. The full report and recommendations from Innovate Alabama can be found here.