Joe Wheeler State Park plans to renovate after storm damaged is cleared

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. — A powerful EF-1 tornado ravaged Joe Wheeler State Park in December. Thousands of trees were knocked down in the campground but park officials say that recovery efforts are well underway. The landscape, however, will never look the same.

Park Superintendent Chad Davis said the park is attempting to salvage any timber they can. "We selected a local company to do the cleanup and once we get it cleaned up we're going to dress it; it's going to look nice and it's not going to look anything like this when we're done," said Davis.

That's because they're using the damage as an opportunity to begin an already-planned renovation at the park. "For the campground, it'll be a total upgrade," said Davis. "50-amp power to all the campsites, new waterlines, new sewer lines, new bathhouses."

Even in its current state, Davis still wants people to visit the other areas of the park like the marina, lodge, and golf course, because he says the more people visit, the more funds they'll have for renovations. One of the many upgrades Davis would like to add to the park is a campground that's fully accessible for people with disabilities.

There's no word yet on when renovations will begin but Davis said they wouldn't start until after the clean-up is completed in May.