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Park improvements made in time for Fourth

Crowds are picking up at Higgins Ferry Park and Minooka Park — both of which have expanded their campgrounds in time for the Fourth of July weekend.

Minooka Park opened its new RV campground last week, and people are already enjoying the new amenities. Each of the 18 sites have 30- and 50-amp electrical service and water supply, and 10 offer sewage hookup. For the remaining sites, there is a dump station located just outside the campground.

The closest site is three-tenths of a mile from the lake, and visitors are welcome to travel back and forth by golf cart, bicycle or ATV.

“From people that have already camped, I’ve heard nothing but favorable comments about it and that they plan to camp again,” said Park Manager Gerald Arrington.

The newly completed campground is Phase One of a larger project; Phase Two would add approximately 14 new sites and a bathhouse. Arrington said Phase Two is dependent upon future grant money.

The park, located off Highway 31 north of Jemison, is currently taking reservations for the campground and may be reached at (205) 312-1376.

Meanwhile, all RV campsites at Higgins Ferry Park on Lake Mitchell now boast full service sewage hookup. The park has a total of 28 sites, and the most recent improvements were made within the last month.

Park Ranger Frank Atkinson said 80 to 100 people can be seen swimming at the lake on a given weekday. He said several of the new campers normally vacation at the Gulf Coast but are not making the trip this year due to the BP oil disaster.

“You can’t blame them,” Atkinson said. “They find a place on the river, and this happens to be it.”

He said the road sign advertising the park located across from Love’s Travel Stop at I-65 Exit 208 continues to draw new tourists to Higgins Ferry.

“That sign has paid for itself 10 times over,” he said.

Atkinson expects to see more big crowds for Lake Mitchell’s Independence Day festivities this weekend. To reach the park, call the ranger station at 755-5952.