Dateline (Barbour County, AL; November 2012) – Ten Wiregrass Counties come together this November to launch the Wiregrass Birding Trail. The newly developed trail of 20 sites is the last of eight organized trails, and 250 sites, covering Alabama. The ten counties that make up the Wiregrass Birding Trail are Barbour, Bullock, Pike, Crenshaw, Covington, Coffee, Dale, Henry, Geneva and Houston. Eufaula has 4 of the sites out of the total of 20 sites in the region. An ongoing project for over 5 years, trail development has coincided with birding becoming an increasingly important source of tourism revenue for Alabama.
The official Ribbon Cutting Launch will be held November 2, 2012 at Noon at the trail head of the Yohollo Mico trail in the heart of downtown Eufaula. Activities include the ribbon cutting, an adult bird walk, Children’s activities led by Amber Dunn, Regional Extension Agent for 4-H for Barbour County, and a hummingbird expo given by Fred Bassett. Birding Art will be on display at the James S. Clark Center by the “Art Scene”, Coloring Contest for grades 3 to 5 in Eufaula City Schools, Barbour County Schools, Lakeside School and the TEACH program for Home school, drawings and many more surprises. All free of charge.
In addition to the Eufaula festivities, the Wehle Center in Midway provides excellent birding opportunities in nearby Bullock County. Eufaula will celebrate the regional nature of the trail by including the Wehle Center in the launch with a group Birding Tour, available at 3:00 p.m. on Friday November 2nd starting at the main gate of the Wehle Center. Free of charge.
As a form of tourism, birding has seen significant growth both nationally and certainly in Alabama over the past several years. Statistics show that the typical birding enthusiast is older and well-educated with disposable income – just the type tourist that we welcome to this area!
The birding trail is not only a valuable means of attracting more visitors to Alabama, it’s also a great educational resource for our students and opportunity for inexpensive family outings. Schools can use the trail sites for field trips and families can visit on a Saturday, Sunday or holidays. With the signage and soon to be available printed material, there will be plenty of information.
Alabama has perhaps the most diverse habitat in the Southeast, with a tremendous range of birds that can be seen in the state and certainly on the Wiregrass Birding Trail.
The birding trails project is funded by the Alabama Tourism Department, with technical assistance from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Birmingham Audubon Society, The Alabama Ornithological Society and local leaders within each region. The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development (UCED) is providing project management and oversight. The Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce is the lead project manager for the Eufaula Birding Trail sites.
Contact: Ann Sparks, Director of Tourism, 333 E. Broad Street, Eufaula, AL 36027, 334-687-6664