BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Randy Householder was born in Montgomery and his early memories are of family camping trips. Now, Randy has returned to his roots and his organization, Alabama Outdoor Adventurer, is encouraging others to experience the great outdoors.
“My Dad was Air Force, so the majority of our vacations were camping. I got away from that; got married, had kids, and now that my kids are older, I’ve decided to get back into that. So, I’m out hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, just about everything I can do outdoors now days.”
From the largest State Park at Oak Mountain to the smallest, Blue Springs in Barbour County, there are plenty of things for you to see and do this Spring and Summer.
Randy recalls beauty statewide, “Up north there’s a place called Walls of Jericho which is a beautiful hike with the waterfall there at the end. You can go to The Gulf State Park. You can use their trails to bike and then all the way up north to Monte Sano and enjoy the hiking and biking at that State Park. There’s nothing better to me than going through Cheaha during the Fall.”
But you don’t have to wait until Fall. The State Parks are open now.
“That was a big decision for us to keep the parks open throughout the pandemic. We’ve got 21 State Parks in Alabama. We kept them all open,” says Jerry Weisenfeld of the Alabama State Parks.
“The pleasant surprise was we had a banner year. We typically see about 5-million visitors to the State Parks every year and through the pandemic we saw 6.2 million people come out. The exciting thing is, we had people like Randy helping us out with his Alabama Outdoor Challenge. We recognize people every year who do things for the parks like Randy did and we were proud to give him an Eagle Award this year.”
Randy makes getting started on your adventure easy. “I started a group called Alabama Outdoor Adventure about five years ago and I started it with about five or six friends, and it was just a way for us to share out adventures and schedule hikes and since then we have grown to nearly 15,000 members. So, I have used that platform to encourage people to get outdoors. We do a lot of education to get people out on the trail and enjoying it safely.”
And Jerry agrees, “We like to say no matter where you are in Alabama, you’ve got a State Park in your backyard.”