BANKHEAD NATIONAL FOREST - At the quarterly meeting of the Bankhead Liaison Panel at First National Bank in Double Springs, March 14, District Ranger Andy Scott provided a number of updates.
He began the meeting by welcoming the members of the public in attendance, noting that this was only the second in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began. “It's really good to see you all again and to see such a good turnout,” Scott said. “It's really good to have such an engaged public interested in what's going on on your national forest.” He added that hearing from the public is important to the work of managing the forest.
Two of Scott’s updates concerned features of recreation areas that have been of particular concern to the public, a pier in Houston Recreation Area and the bridge in Sipsey Picnic Area and Trailhead.
“We have not given up on trying to replace the courtesy pier at (the) Houston (Recreation Area) boat ramp,” Scott said. “It's still in process.”
He also said the bridge in the Sipsey Picnic Area had been assessed by engineers and deemed unsafe, as previously reported in the Alabamian. He reassured those present that the bridge would not simply be left in its current state, noting that a team was working on figuring out possible ways to proceed.
Responding to a request for an update on Sunday, May 14, he said, “Engineers from the National Forests in Alabama(‘s) Supervisor's Office and the Region 8 Regional Office have evaluated the Sipsey Rec Area bridge and determined that it is not safe for use. They are actively working toward developing alternatives.”
As for the beaches in Bankhead’s recreation areas, the reason some are still closed is that the water testing that is required before they can open is still being conducted, Scott said May 14. The beach at Corinth Recreation Area is scheduled to open Saturday, May 20, and the beach at Houston Recreation Area is scheduled to open Saturday, May 27. However, Scott noted that these dates are “contingent on various factors.” The beach at Clear Creek Recreation Area is open now.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.