State park is still needing support

Published 7:24 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Twelve months ago, the future of Paul Grist State Park wasn’t looking bright.  The park was officially closed in October, just months after its shuttering was first announced amid budget cuts from the Alabama Legislature.

Just a few months later, it’s fair to say progress has been made.

The park reopened in December after negotiations between county and state leaders. The sides eventually agreed to a long-term lease and the keys were handed over to the county.

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We wrote in December that the park’s reopening was proof that local and state government could work together, but we also said last year’s scare should serve as a reminder of how valuable our state parks are, especially Paul Grist State Park. We wrote if the park’s future was going to improve, it needed more foot traffic and more community support.

On Saturday, the first annual Grist Grinder was held at the park and about 20 people took part in a 5K-trail run and 8.5 mile bike race. Given the park’s status only a few months ago, it’s encouraging that people showed up to take part in the event, or at least cheer on loved ones participating.

However, we’d hoped to see more people at the park. Saturday a nice spring day and it was a great opportunity for locals to show their appreciation for a park that was almost closed indefinitely last year.

Paul Grist State Park is often a forgotten treasure in Selma. It’s a rare spot where families can enjoy Alabama’s outdoors together.

We thank those who showed up Saturday to support the park and hope the Grist Grinder becomes an annual event, with a park full of participants next time around.