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Blakeley Park to Celebrate Alabama Arbor Week with Special Tour and Tree Giveaway

Historic Blakeley State Park will celebrate 2016 Alabama Arbor Week—the state’s official observance of Arbor Day—with two special tours and a tree giveaway. On Saturday, February 27th, registered forester Dean Trawick will guide guests on their choice of one of two short “Tree Walk and Talks,” scheduled for 10 AM and 1 PM. Mr. Trawick is active in Alabama 4-H and will offer a course in Forestry for local 4-H members in the park in March. Through a partnership with the Alabama Forestry Commission, all park guests on these tours and during the week of February 29th, “Leap Year Week,” will also receive free tree seedlings chosen from varieties currently available.

During Trawick’s 45-minute strolls, he will point out characteristics of several beautiful native tree species and their related ecosystems in two very different areas of the park. At 10 AM, we will explore the Civil War battlefield, a relatively open area where longleaf and other pine species are predominant. The 1 PM tour will traverse the site of the historic town of Blakeley and the Tensaw River waterfront, a lowland area where a great diversity of oaks, magnolias, and other trees, some of them rare, can be found. Both tours are complimentary with regular admission to the park ($4 adults/$3 kids ages 6-12). Registration is not required.

While National Arbor Day is recognized across the country every April, each state observes its own Arbor Week depending on the best time for planting trees locally. Arbor Day’s “roots” in Alabama stretch back to 1887, when Governor Thomas Seay, a veteran of the Civil War Battle of Fort Blakeley, issued the first proclamation for the holiday. Since 1975, Arbor Week in Alabama has been observed the last full week in February.

For more information on these events, please call 251-626-0798.

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Blakeley to Offer Unique Program on Heritage of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta

“The Power of Place: The Mobile-Tensaw Delta and Literary Inspiration”, a multi-faceted educational program at Blakeley Park on March 12, explores the sense of place as expressed by authors Watt Key and Sue Brannan Walker and as viewed in a guided nature walk by botanist Fred Nation.

Nation starts off the program with a guided nature walk exploring the plant life of the Delta from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. At 10:30 a.m. Watt Key, award winning local author of Among the Swamp People and Terror at Bottle Creek, speaks about his writing and its connections to life in the Delta. At noon, over lunch, Dr. Sue Brannan Walker, former Alabama poet laureate, acclaimed poet, playwright, and author of In the Realm of Rivers: Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw Delta will discuss her poetry and the inspiration the Delta has provided for some of her work.

Catered bag lunches are available at $10 with advance orders or guests may bring their own. Key and Dr. Walker will speak in the Wehle Nature Center building. The event is hosted by Blakeley Park and sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation. Admission to the program is free but advance registration is required as seating is limited. To make reservations or for more information, call 251-626-5581.

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Blakeley Park to Offer Exciting Look at River History With Special Boat Tour

Passengers aboard a special eco-tour on Blakeley State Park’s Delta Explorer March 24 can see, touch, hear about, and then take home and read about the exciting history of the Mobile River.

John S. Sledge, author of the recently published book “The Mobile River” will narrate a three-hour boat tour across the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and down the Mobile River leaving a wake of history—some previously untold—behind. This is a second offering of the Sledge narrated tour by Blakeley that was sold out last fall. Copies of his book will also be available following the tour.

The tour are leaves from the Blakeley Park dock on the Tensaw River at 9:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 251-626-5581 and paying with major credit cards. Prices are $40 adults/$20 children.

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Civil War Living History Event Planned for April 9th

Historic Blakeley State Park will host a special day of living history on April 9, the 151st anniversary of the Battle of Fort Blakeley. These events, tentatively including weapons demonstrations, guided tours of authentic Civil War camps, and a lecture by local author Russell Blount, Jr., will interpret the experiences of the soldiers who fought here and the civilians in the Mobile area who lived through the closing days of the war in south Alabama.

Look for a full agenda to be posted soon.

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Historic Blakeley State Park Remains
Open to the Public

Historic Blakeley State Park remains open seven days a week from 8 am. to dusk to day visitors and every night to campers in both its RV and tent campgrounds.

The reminder was issued in response to questions from the public to Blakeley State Park following the announcement that some state parks will close and others limit operations following action by the Legislature in reducing funds of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources that had provided recreational use of nearly two dozen parks across the state.

Blakeley is an historical and natural state park operated by a separate state agency. It has received no operating money from the state general fund in a number of years but was eligible for $25,000 in state grant funds for 2015-16. It has survived and kept its gates open by charging modest user fees, and through local revenues and grant funds.

“The park board of directors and staff appreciate that the public and local elected public officials recognize the service provided by Blakeley State Park to Alabama citizens and our visitors and have to the best of their ability supported that effort”, said Jo Ann Flirt, director.

 

Only Free Standing Hammock Camping Allowed: Blakeley Park reminds the public that it the use of hammocks for camping is restricted to free standing hammocks. The park rule is for the protection of trees in the popular wooded tent camping areas. The size and placing of trees does not accommodate camping in hammocks tired to trees. Social media and possibly commercial advertising appears to have promoted the popularity of hammock camping giving rise to recent questions to the park.

 

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Watch this page for upcoming events!

 

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Blakeley Residents Spotted

Visitors to Blakeley State Park with patience can see wildlife like this young mother raccoon and two of her four babies exploring the Washington Square picnic area this week (Aug. 24) She is leading them down from one of the park's huge, old oak trees. Click here to view the photo. (Photo by Jo Ann Flirt)

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Tour group at Bottle Creek Mounds


Boat docking at mound site.


Robert Bradley of the State Archives Dept with Confederate Civil War battleflag captured at Blakeley.

Scheduled

Delta Explorer tours: Click HERE for more.


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