Oak Mountain State Park suffers tornado damage

(Photo courtesy of theoutdoorwire.com)

PELHAM, Ala. – Severe weather, including an apparent tornado, moved through northern Shelby County Thursday and caused damage at Oak Mountain State Park.

The park suffered widespread tree damage in areas near Alabama Highway 119, as well as damage to the park’s campground and cable skiing areas. No injuries were immediately reported.

The park closed because of downed trees and power lines, and it’s unclear when it will re-open. Park staffers continue to survey the damage, though it was difficult because of continued rainy weather and the forecast of more severe weather through the night.

“We are evaluating and accessing the damage to Oak Mountain State Park,” said Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “We don’t yet know how long the clean-up and recovery from these storms could take, and we understand many homes were also damaged in nearby areas of Shelby County.

“Once we know the full extent of the damage at Oak Mountain State Park, we will formulate an action plan. We appreciate the consideration and patience from all of our visitors as we figure out the best way to respond.”

Other nearby areas in Shelby County, including Eagle Point along U.S. 280 and areas of Helena also sustained storm damage from the suspected tornado that moved through suburban Birmingham in the early afternoon. The National Weather Service has not yet confirmed the tornado, but photos and videos shared on social media strongly indicate a tornado moved through northern Shelby County on Thursday.

About Oak Mountain State Park

Alabama’s largest state park – encompassing 9,940 acres – features more than 50 miles of trails, an 18-hole golf course and driving range, horseback riding facilities, fishing lakes, boat rentals, picnic and beach areas, demonstration farm and majestic Peavine Falls. The Alabama Wildlife Center, located inside OMSP, offers rehabilitation services to injured native birds to return them to the wild. The resident birds can be viewed from the Tree Top Nature Trail, an elevated boardwalk winding through a secluded woodland valley. Learn more at https://www.alapark.com/parks/oak-mountain-state-park

About Alabama’s State Parks System

The Alabama State Parks is a division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and maintains 21 state parks encompassing approximately 48,000 acres of land and water in Alabama. The parks range from Gulf Coast beaches to Appalachian Mountains and provide opportunities and facilities from basic day-use activities to resort convention lodging, restaurants and golfing areas. These parks rely on visitor fees and the support of other partners, like local communities, to fund the majority of their operations. Learn more at www.alapark.com. Partners Pay the Way.