The Old Lock 1 Park facilities are located in an old pecan orchard with hardwood swamp on its south side. Most of the park’s acreage is contained within the core of an old meander north of the old lock and dam structures. Mature cottonwoods cover much of the meander core while willows and some small cypress occur at the water’s edge. Birding is excellent year-round, and spring and fall can bring a wide variety of migrants. White-eyed, Red-eyed, and Yellow-throated vireos; Carolina Wrens; Northern Cardinals; Indigo Buntings; and Orchard Orioles nest in the area around the facilities. While Yellow-billed Cuckoos, American Redstarts, Prothonotary Warblers, and Northern Parulas seem to prefer the river margin. Winter brings Bald Eagles, House Wrens, and Orange-crowned Warblers. Ospreys and Caspian Terns frequently fish the waters below the dam during migration.
The birding experience is enhanced by canoeing/kayaking the area behind the old dam, but check the water level before launching. During periods of low water, powerboat and even canoe and kayak access to this area may not be possible from the boat ramp; however, canoes and kayaks may be launched from the stairway on the east (upstream) side of the old lock structure. Alligators are common in the old meander, and you’re sure to see several as you paddle along the shoreline. The main channel of the Tombigbee can be accessed year-round from the boat ramp, and the park could act as a put-in for a short 1.2 mile-paddle downriver to St. Stephens State Historical Park (PWBT Site 1).
The old meander core is open to hunting during hunting seasons.
Access: Free; park hours are 6:00 am until 10:00 pm.
Directions: From intersection of US Highway 43 and Alabama Highway 69 at Jackson, go north on Alabama 69 for 8.4 miles (mile marker 9.1). Turn left (west) on Old Lock 1 Park Road for 3.5 miles to the park entrance; park in the parking area by the pavilion and restrooms.
GPS: N 31° 34.363’ / W 88° 01.913’
Contact: US Army Corps of Engineers
384 Resource Management Rd.
Demopolis, AL 36732
Amenities: Restrooms, Handicap access, Potable water, Parking, Camping, Canoeing, Boat access, Picnic area