Perry Lakes Park History
The ground breaking ceremony for the Perry Lakes
Park was held on June 25, 2001. This event was attended by many State political
leaders, representatives of the Department of Conservation, Marion and Perry
County officials, numerous individuals from environmental organizations and
scores of local citizens. The Park officially opened in May, 2002.
Four students from Auburn's Rural Studio accepted
part of the Perry Lakes Park restoration as their final project. Jennifer
Bonner, Mary Beth Maness, Nathan Orrison, and Anthony Tindill designed and
constructed this pavilion for the picnic area.
|Participating in the
ribbon-cutting for the new
pavilion are (L to R): Mary Ward Brown, author of
"Tongues of Flame;" Bob Reed, Birmingham Audubon Society; Mary Beth Maness,
studnet; Anthony Tindill, student; Nathan Orrison, student; Mayor Ed Daniel;
Jennifer Bonner, student; Dr. Thomas Wilson, Judson College Biologist; Judge
Cook; Donald Nicholds; Charles LeCroy; and Milford Smith, Alabama Power.
Franklin D. Roosevelt commissioned the Civilian
Conservation Corps in 1935 to build bridges, lakes, and parks in order to
provide employment during the "Great Depression." These workers used mules and
wagons to create the Perry Lakes Park located five miles east of Marion, behind
the U. S. Southeastern Fish Cultural Laboratory and near the Marion State Fish
Hatchery on Perry County highway 175. Charles Wiant came from Pennsylvania to
be the first Manager at the Marion Hatchery.
|Auburn Rural Studio students Matthew Edwards, Sara
Singleton, Lynielle Houston, and Charlie Jorgensen, along with Dr. Thomas
Wilson, were lucky to meet Jack and Evelyn Snow one October day in the Park.
Jack Snow was manager of the Marion Fish Hatchery in 1950-1973. Jack
commissioned the forestry survey for the Park area and established the fire
lanes which now serve as natrue trails. Jack Snow is looked on as "Pop" of the
Perry Lakes Park was open from the mid-1930s until it was
closed in 1974 when fish were stolen from the Fish Cultural Laboratory. The
Fish Cultural Laboratory was closed in 1994 due to reorganization of the
Closure of the Southeastern Fish Cultural Laboratory in
Marion in 1994 dealt a severe blow to the Marion community, but, it opened the
door for the restoration of the old Perry Lakes Park. The S. E. Fish Cultural
Laboratory was owned by the Federal government and it was located beside the
State Fish Hatchery in Marion. The road leading to the old Perry Lakes Park is
located on the Culture Laboratory property. For security reasons, this road was
closed in 1974 which blocked the public from the Perry Lakes Park.
Perry Lakes Park and Barton's Beach Cahaba River Preserve
Board is composed of the following individuals:
Perry Lakes Park reopen in May of 2002 due to the hard
work, dedication, and political savvy of Donald Cook, Judge of Probate, and due
to the efforts of Thomas Wilson, Judson College Professor of Biology, and other
local community leaders. Governor Don Siegelman, senators Jeff Sessions,
Richard Shelby and Earl Hilliard executed necessary political requirements for
the park. The project has received strong support from, Ed Daniel, the Mayor of
Marion, Johnny Flowers and the Perry County Commissioners, Maurice Jackson,
past Manager of the Marion Fish Hatchery, and Riley Boykin Smith, Director of
the Alabama State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Representatives from the Cahaba River Society, The Alabama
Environmental Council, the Nature Conservancy of Alabama, and the Birmingham
Ornithological Society worked with the Marion group in the early planning of
the Park and Preserve. Community service projects at the Park and Preserve by
students, faculty and staff at Judson College and Marion Military Institute
demonstrate the appreciation we all have for these wonderful natural areas.
Financial support for Perry Lakes Park has come from
Alabama Power Company largely due to the efforts of Milford Smith, local
manager for Alabama Power. Norman Burton, Ala-Tom RC&D Council, awarded a
grant to Thomas Wilson, Judson College biologist, for plant identification and
labeling. ALA-TOM RC&D Council awarded a grant to the Perry Coounty
Commission for the Perry Lakes Park project. A generous grant from ADECA funded
a culvert bridge and the restrooms. Funds for the design and creation of a
trail system was presented by Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee.
In-kind assistance by employees of the City of Marion, Perry County Commission,
the RC&D Earth Team, and by Judson College professors makes it possible to
have the facility.
| Donald Cook, Board Chair, Judge of
Probate, Perry County
Johnny Flowers, Chairman of the Perry County
Ed Daniel, past Mayor of the City of Marion
Alabama Power Company (past member)
Maurice Jackson, Manager of the Marion
Gordon Vann, City of Uniontown
Keith Tassin, Nature
Conservancy of Alabama
||Thomas H. Wilson, Professor of Biology, Judson
College (Environmental Advisor)
Dan Overton, Perry County Engineer
Linwood Herron, Grant Coordinator