Promoting area’s resources

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Building Selma’s economic development on history and tourism is not a foreign idea.

Selma is defined as “historic” when the city is presented to outsiders, such as Historic Downtown Selma.

From the Battle of Selma in 1865 during the Civil War until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the city is defined by battles, bridges, museums and Reconstruction homes.

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Even if you couldn’t tell, many places are even labeled “old” — Old Town, Old Cahawba, the Old Depot and Old Live Oak Cemetery.

Selma likes history. Selma likes old.

Now comes the Alabama Black Belt Adventures, a group of state and local businessmen and officials who want to promote Selma and the surrounding area with its oldest asset — its dirt.

The Black Belt in Alabama is a region characterized by a thin layer of rich, black topsoil that tends to dry out during the summer. The natural vegetation consisted mainly of oak-hickory forest interspersed with shortgrass prairie, while the sandy ridges flanking the chalk belt supported pine forest.

For hunters, that means optimum conditions for deer and turkey hunting.

Throw in the Alabama River and its tributaries, and you’ve got the ingredients for an all-around sportsman’s paradise. Supporters and followers of the Black Belt Adventures hope to use the important natural resources to bring hunters and anglers into the area.

Central Louisiana business and tourism groups gave travel and outdoors writers a taste of that area during a press junket. Outdoors-related activities included crappie fishing on Lake D’Arbonne; bass fishing on Toledo Bend Reservoir; hog hunting operations in Columbia, La.; starting with a visit to the local Bass Pro Shop.

Along the way, the group visited a golf resort, historical landmarks and churches, a log cabin town and family, the state’s only working ferry and museums.

The Black Belt’s richness of natural resources and historical landmarks make the idea of bringing tourists and sportsmen into the area a productive idea.

With the cooperation and support of Black Belt residents, the program can be an economic boon to the area.