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Forests reopen for recreation season

The USDA Forest Service announces the opening of the 2021 recreation season for Alabama’s four national forests – Bankhead, Conecuh, Talladega, and Tuskegee. There’s a wide range of outdoor activities on public lands, and a new virtual tour guide named Eva Longleaf is available for download to help visitors get ready for the outdoors.

Forest Service officials encourage visitors to download the free mobile app “Alabama Great Escapes” that features a virtual tour guide, Avenza maps, road and site closure alerts, and other information to plan trips. The app introduces visitors to Eva Longleaf, a conversational tour guide providing recreation information, national forest history, and what is happening in the natural world.

“We are excited to provide a new, digital tool to assist visitors with planning trips to Alabama’s national forests,” said Forest Supervisor Cherie Hamilton.  U.S. Forest Service managers anticipate a busy season as recreation sites receive more visitors. “After a long, wet winter, people like to get out and enjoy the outdoors again,” said Hamilton. “We’ve been working hard to get our roads, trails, and campgrounds ready for the upcoming season.  While we understand there may be some excitement from the public to return to beloved national forests, please continue to follow local, state, and federal guidelines on staying safe.”

In addition to the “Alabama Great Escapes” mobile app, Forest Service recreation specialists are available to answer questions.

Maps, passes, discount fees, safety tips, know before you go alerts, and recreation information are available at www.fs.usda.gov/alabama.

Contact the following Forest Service offices: Bankhead District (205) 471-7724; Conecuh District (334) 708-0595; Shoal Creek District (256) 463-2272; Talladega District (256) 369-5882; Oakmulgee District (205) 926-9765; Tuskegee District (334) 439-0244.

Android users may use the following link to download the Great Escape app in the Google Play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.usda.fs.nfalabamagreatescapes.

Apple users should use the following link to access the Apple app store to download the Great Escapes app: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/alabama-great-escapes/id982222721.