Community, families participate in New Year’s Day hike at Joe Wheeler State Park

Community, families participate in New Year’s Day hike at Joe Wheeler State Park

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -With massive destruction of trees and debris still on the ground two weeks later at Joe Wheeler State Park, many people and families came out to hike in the New Year.

“Well the park is still open; a lot of people think the park is still closed but that is just a myth,” said David Barr, Park Ranger at Joe Wheeler State Park.

Due to massive destruction from tornadoes two weeks ago, downed trees and debris remain at Joe Wheeler State Park.

But that did not stop more than 50 people from participating in the annual 8 mile hiking event and bringing back memories for families.

“It makes me want to cry you know because you know we’ve had so many good memories, family occasions, birthday parties and day picnics and it really hit home for us,” hiker, Kimberly Dunbar.

“Joe Wheeler been around ever since I was a little girl here. I use to swing on the swings and we had our family reunions and stuff here, so it was devastating news when we heard about the tornado and the trees. So today we come to give back to Joe Wheeler and give a little donation to help with the park,” said hiker, Sonja King.

More than half of the campgrounds and the entire day area at Joe Wheeler State Park are ruined.

Barr said he is hopeful with the recovery process and is thankful for the support from the community.

“It gives me a lot of hope and vision for the park to see that people still love it and they come out to get in touch with nature,” said Barr.

The park is currently working toward a contract with a company to assist with tree removal and cleanup.

EDITOR’S NOTE: WAFF originally stated the park was looking for volunteers to clean debris. The story has been corrected to state the park is working on a contract with a third-party company and is not looking for volunteers.

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