Sen. Tom Whatley elected chairman of the Alabama State Parks Committee

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) has been elected chairman of the Alabama Legislature’s Joint Committee on State Parks. The committee is composed of six state senators and six state representatives, and was created by the State Legislature in 2000 “to study, review, and concur in the long-range capital plan for restoration of existing state park facilities and the acquisition of new state park facilities.”
“As an avid outdoorsman, I have a strong appreciation for Alabama’s land and waterways. It’s a deep honor to lead this team of legislators, as we examine ways to improve Alabama’s state parks, so that future generations of Alabamians can love the outdoors and appreciate our state’s natural beauty,” Whatley said.
Alabama has 21 state parks which encompass more than 45,000 acres. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is the state agency charged with running the parks, with oversight from the Joint Committee on State Parks. The agency estimates that between 80 and 90% of the parks’ annual funding comes via fees, not taxes.
“I believe it’s important that the Joint State Parks Committee takes a very active role in evaluating and supporting our state’s parks.”
Sen. Billy Beasley (D-Clayton) commended Whatley’s leadership and ability to work well with committee members.
“I have two state parks in my district, Blue Springs State Park in Barbour County and Lakepoint Resort State Park in Eufaula, and I know how important they are to the people of Alabama. Christopher Blankenship, the Commissioner of Conservation and Natural Resources, is doing a very good job and I know that Senator Tom Whatley as Chair of the Joint State Parks Committee will work well with him and the rest of the committee. Senator Whatley has indicated to me that he wants the committee to be extremely active and I look forward to working with him to ensure our parks are maintained properly so they can continue to be a resource to our residents,” Beasley said.
The state parks committee is composed of the following legislators:
Sen. Tom Whatley (Chairman)
Sen. Billy Beasley
Sen. Andrew Jones
Sen. Clay Scofield
Sen. Chris Elliott
Sen. Steve Livingston
Rep. Lynn Greer
Rep. Wes Kitches
Rep. Danny Crawford
Rep. Steve McMillan.

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