Tourism Tuesdays November 4, 2014

  • East Alabama tourism organization gains support
  • Alabama Tourism campaign makes World Travel Market publication
  • Huntsville/Madison County CVB hosts NATJA
  • Alabama Bass Trail adds Weiss, Martin to 2015 tournaments
  • Red Mountain Park opens new outdoor adventures November 8
  • Second Singing River sculpture unveiling November 7
  • Trees planted in Montgomery on the Voting Rights Trail
  • Cahawba makes several U.S. ghost lists this Halloween season
  • Scout your route: Ala./Miss. state line welcome center flattened, reconstruction underway
  • Registration Closing Thursday: 2014 Alabama Welcome Center Educational Retreat
  • Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

East Alabama tourism organization gains support

The Alabama Tourism Department will assist eight counties in east central Alabama in promoting the area, officials announced.

“Alabama is a great place to tour and visit, and we welcome everyone to explore our great state,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “There are many wonderful festivals and destinations throughout the state, and this regional tourism organization is a great opportunity for counties to jointly promote East Alabama.”

State tourism director Lee Sentell said his agency will help “Tour East Alabama” with marketing support including a television commercial and print ads.

The commercial will feature the Talladega Superspeedway, Cold Water Mountain, Cheaha State Park, DeSoto Caverns Park, the Chattahoochee River and courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. It will air next spring on approximately 50 Raycom television stations in partnership with the Retirement Systems of Alabama, Sentell said.

Calhoun County tourism director Mary Patchunka-Smith said the commercial will particularly raise awareness among the millions of residents in nearby Atlanta. Many tourists are drawn to the area for its family destinations, hiking trails and natural beauty, she said.

The eight counties included in the Tour East Alabama tourism organization are Calhoun, Chambers, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Randolph, Talladega and Tallapoosa.

Alabama Tourism campaign makes World Travel Market publication

The first day of World Travel Market (WTM) got off to a good start as the event’s magazine is promoting Alabama’s 2015 campaign.

In the TTG@WTM magazine subtitled Day 1-the Official Event Daily Magazine, Alabama’s upcoming barbecue promotion received a quarter page attention.  Featured in the Destination News section of American updates the announcement included a large photograph of BBQ ribs with a message that the ilovealabamafood app is available as well as information at the Alabama stand.  Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell and staff member Grey Brennan are attending WTM London. Also in the Alabama stand is Della Tully, Alabama’s In-Market Representative.

Lee Sentell, Grey Brennan and Della Tully are with more than 4,900 exhibitors from 186 countries and regions at World Travel Market – the leading global event for the travel industry held in London Nov. 3 – 6.  WTM is a business-to-business event that provides the opportunity to present Alabama to UK and international travel professionals and media.  Alabama has more than 35 meetings scheduled with UK and Irish trade and media partners over the course of the event and is part of a brand new Travel South booth manned by more than 40 Southern representatives.  Alabama was also part of the Travel South reception held on the first night of the show in partnership with Virgin Atlantic and Delta Airlines to showcase their new service from London to the South via Atlanta.

For more information on Alabama’s International Tourism marketing, contact:

Huntsville/Madison County CVB hosts NATJA

The Huntsville/Madison County CVB recently hosted the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) annual conference.  Nearly 40 media professionals from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico attended the conference.  Media participated in pre- or post-conference tours arranged by conference partners including the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, as well as the CVB’s from Florence/Lauderdale County, Colbert County, Tuscaloosa & Birmingham.  While in Huntsville & Madison County, attendees participated in workshops and visited local attractions for special activities during their stay.  We were thrilled to have Alabama Tourism Director Lee Sentell join us for the Marketplace portion of the conference, where he met with numerous media representatives to tout all of the special attractions, events and activities which make our state a must-see destination.  Great coverage has already been noted from several media participants and we anticipate the positive media exposure for North Alabama and the entire state will continue for quite some time.

Alabama Bass Trail adds Weiss, Martin to 2015 tournaments
By Frank Sargeant, The Huntsville Times, Oct. 19

Alabama Bass Trail event winners take home a check for $10,000 plus earning entry in the year end state championship for a Phoenix bass boat.

Alabama Bass Trail director Kay Donaldson has announced two more lakes have been added to the state’s popular fishing trail for 2015. The North Division welcomes Weiss Lake while the South Division added Lake Martin. The additional two lakes bring the team trail to 13 premier bass fishing lakes located throughout the state.

Weiss Lake, located in Cherokee County, is an Alabama Power Company hydroelectric impoundment covering 30,200 acres and is a major economic driver for the county. There are four free public access areas and 37 privately run marina services around the lake. It’s a lake with lots of water color, known primarily for its crappie fishing, but strong catches on the ABT circuit could change that.

“We are very excited to become a part of the Alabama Bass Trail. It is a great opportunity for Weiss Lake and our local businesses to be associated with this statewide fishing trail.” said Thereasa Hulgan, executive director of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. “Kay Donaldson and her team of volunteers have done a tremendous job in promoting Alabama lakes and rivers. We thank Governor Bentley and the Alabama Tourism Department for seeing the potential to grow tourism and a special thank you to all of the Alabama Bass Trail sponsors who believe in this project”.

Located in Tallapoosa, Elmore, and Coosa counties, Lake Martin is the largest lake in Alabama, encompassing over 44,000 acres. It has over 750 miles of wooded shoreline and is home to the country’s largest state park, Wind Creek. Lake Martin is a reservoir, formed by the construction of Martin Dam on the Tallapoosa River. Construction on Martin Dam began in 1923 and was completed in 1926, creating what was at the time the largest man-made body of water in the world. Lake Martin, while challenging for bass fishing due to water clarity of 10-15 feet, puts everyone on the same playing ground in search of the big catch. Anglers who love Lewis Smith Lake will find themselves at home on Martin–those who hate it, not so much.

“The Alexander City Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to announce the addition of Lake Martin to the Alabama Bass Trail,” said Alexander City Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Ann Rye. “We consider it a tremendous complement to join this group of lakes and know that the trail will be enhanced with the addition of Lake Martin. We have heard many positive comments from the fishing community and we cannot wait to extend our hospitality to them. The creation of the Alabama Bass Trail and Kay Donaldson’s leadership has brought an economic engine to the state of Alabama and we are proud to support that effort. Alabama is rich in natural resources and it is exciting to see our governor endorsing and promoting this type of tourism.”

The two lakes will be featured online and in print with detailed information on each lake including the latest tips from professional anglers and guides, lake maps with hot spots indicated, and current weather and water data.

“We are excited to bring two more outstanding Alabama lakes to the Alabama Bass Trail. Both of these lakes work well with the other lakes currently on the Alabama Bass Trail to represent the best bass fishing in Alabama. Both Chambers of Commerce and community leaders from these areas have shown interest in being on the Alabama Bass Trail from day one and we are excited to be able to add them in 2015,” said Alabama Bass Trail Program Director Kay Donaldson.

The Alabama Bass Trail is a program of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association headquartered in Decatur. Its mission is to promote Alabama as a year round fishing destination, to preserve natural resources for generations to come, and to educate high school and college aged students to be good stewards of natural resources. The 13 bass fishing lakes consist of Weiss Lake, Lake Guntersville, Wheeler Lake, Pickwick Lake, Lewis Smith Lake, Neely Henry Lake, Lay Lake, Logan Martin Lake, Lake Jordan, Lake Martin, Alabama River, Lake Eufaula, and the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta.

For details, entry fee and prize structure, visit

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Red Mountain Park opens new outdoor adventures November 8

Red Mountain Park is now taking reservations for two new outdoor adventures, The Kaul Adventure Tower and the Kaul Mega Zip.  The 80-feet tall Kaul Adventure Tower consists of eight “lanes” that contain rappelling, traditional rock climbing with hand-holds, and leaf climbing to the top of a giant beanstalk—this one-hour adventure can be concluded with an exhilarating Mega Zip once you reach the very top should you choose.  Guests can also experience the Mega Zip separately.  The Mega Zip is a 1,300-feet long zip thrill that allows guests to fly through the sky head first like Superman or in traditional zip style with feet leaving the platform first.  Zippers start from 80 feet in the air with speeds reaching as fast as 30 mph and can enjoy this adventure on their own or race side by side with another brave adventurer—the Mega Zip has side-by-side zip lanes.

The cost is $30 per person for 1 hour of climbing and rappelling on the Kaul Adventure Tower and $20 to Mega Zip; adventurers can experience both for just $50.  Both activities are extremely unique-nowhere else in the world contains this exact adventure combination.  Guests can begin making their reservations immediately by visiting or by calling 205.202.6043.

Second Singing River sculpture unveiling November 7

The second “Singing River” sculpture by artist Audwin McGee will be unveiled Fri., Nov. 7, at noon in front of the library on Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals. The 18-foot sculpture, crafted from recycled aluminum from Wise Metals, depicts a studio session bass player.
The Singing River sculpture project was initiated by David Anderson and Bill Matthews, who began fundraising campaigns several years ago to support creating sculptures that celebrate the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound. The first one depicts a guitar player and was unveiled in downtown Sheffield in 2012. The goal is for sculptures to be erected in Sheffield, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia and Florence and eventually develop a “Singing River Sculpture Garden” overlooking the Tennessee River.
“From its beginning, the Muscle Shoals music industry has kept our area in the international spotlight and we are excited about having this sculpture at a focal point in our city,” said Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford. “Audwin did a magnificent job on this and it is something that will be enjoyed for generations to Bradford said that the unveiling is open to the public. “We hope lots of people will attend the unveiling and help us show our appreciation for Audwin’s artistry and for the Muscle Shoals music industry.”


Trees planted in Montgomery on the Voting Rights Trail

By WSFA 12 News, Oct. 29

New trees are headed to Oak Street streetscape in Montgomery. It’s all a part of the Voting Rights Trail Project being sponsored by ACTrees and Boise Paper.

The 24 Eastern Redbud trees will be planted in the streetscape of Oak Street in front of LAMP Elementary School. These trees are known for their pink flowers in early spring and are apart of a project that includes 300 trees. The project is being funded by a grant of $1,500, which was awarded to Montgomery Trees.

The Montgomery Tree Committee was started by a citizen advocacy group as the urban forestry program. The committee along with the city of Montgomery and the Clean City Commission has worked on other grants to develop data and ideas to benefit the environment and community.

To see this online, go to:

Cahawba makes several U.S. ghost lists this Halloween season

America’s Coolest Ghost Towns
By Katrina Brown Hunt, Travel+Leisure, September issue

Cahawba, the antebellum river town was the capital of Alabama from 1820 to 1826, though by 1825 the bad choice of geography was clear: the place was a flood magnet. Even so, it was later the home of a Civil War prison for Union soldiers and then, during Reconstruction, a meeting place for freed slaves. The floods largely won out, and now the ruins left in Cahawba—a few streets, cemeteries, and some buildings—are managed by the Alabama Historical Commission.  Closest Civilization: Selma

To read the entire article, go to:

Abandoned America: 50 States, 50 Deserted Places
By Simone M. Scully,, Oct. 30

Cahawba was the capital of Alabama from 1820-1826 and once a thriving antebellum town. During the Civil War, it was home to a prison for Union soldiers and later, it was a meeting place for freed slaves. However, the town was frequently flooded, so it was soon abandoned.
To read the entire article, go to:

Five real ghost towns in the U.S.
THV 11 News, Little Rock, AK, Oct. 29

We’re just two days away from Halloween and that typically means getting scared silly by pretend witches, goblins and ghosts. But did you know there are some real ghost towns right here in the United States?
A ghost town is simply defined as an abandoned village, town or city whether by natural or human-made disaster or through failed economical means.

THV 11 ran across a list of America’s Coolest Ghost Towns compiled by
1. Cahawba, Alabama – Strong and frequent flooding ran all the people out of this town. But get this, Cahawba used to be the capital of Alabama from 1820-1826. A change was made because the location of this town was so bad. During the Civil War, people tried to make a residence out of this town but the floods kept winning.

To read the entire article and watch the video, go to:

Scout your route: Ala./Miss. state line welcome center flattened, reconstruction underway
By Angela Levins,, Oct. 15

The Welcome Center at the Alabama/Mississippi state line on Interstate 10 is being upgraded. From the interstate, drivers heading east can spot the major renovations underway.

Workers are only about 10 percent of the way into the project. Crews have torn down the old building, and are working drainage and a rock base for parking.

ALDOT’s Media and Community Relations Officer Katie Hamlett said the slab for the new welcome center should be poured in about three weeks.

Hamlett said the old Welcome Center needed to be replaced for a number of reasons.

“Mounting maintenance issues with the previous welcome center, including mold and mildew growth, roof leaks, recurring plumbing problems, and an undersized A/C system, made the facility upkeep both expensive and time consuming,” Hamlett said.

Ninety percent of the $17 million project cost will be federally funded. Ben M. Radcliff Contractor, Inc. expects the project to be complete by May 2016.

To read the entire article, go to:

Registration Closing Thursday: 2014 Alabama Welcome Center Educational Retreat

The 2014 Alabama Welcome Center Educational Retreat is set for Nov. 9-11, at Lakepoint Resort State Park in Eufaula.

Registration for the 2014 Welcome Center Retreat will close Thur., Nov. 6.  If you have registered, you should have received a confirmation email from Ann Sparks of the Eufaula Chamber of Commerce.
The Welcome Center Educational Retreat continues to be a unique opportunity to update the Welcome Center staff on your organization, attractions, accommodations and special events. The registration fee is $150, which includes your meals on Sunday afternoon and dinner Sunday night; breakfast, lunch and dinner on Monday and the Monday night event, along with your booth setup on Monday.

The host hotel is Lakepoint Resort State Park and they are offering a rate of $61.95 plus tax for each night to all participating partners.

For registration and additional information, please contact:

Ann Sparks, 334-687-6664 or e-mail:
Trisa Collier, 256-423-3891 e-mail:
Jerry Hale, 205-392-5443 e-mail:

Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) upcoming events

Nov. 9 – 11                 2014 Alabama Welcome Center Educational Retreat
Dec. 2 – 4                    Travel South International Showcase, New Orleans
Dec. 5 – 8                    Travel South International Super FAM to Alabama


Tourism Tuesdays is a free electronic newsletter produced by the Alabama Tourism Department. It contains news about the state tourism department and the Alabama tourism industry.

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Alabama Tourism Department