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Red Bay looking to join scenic river trail

RED BAY – The city of Red Bay already has a long list of attributes that make it one of the most charming small town cities in the state, but city officials are hoping to add another feature that will make the city more appealing to tourists.
Recently, Park and Recreation Director Mike Shewbart has met with members of the Alabama Scenic River Trail (ASRT) to discuss the possibility of Red Bay becoming a stop on the tourism route that brings in boating enthusiasts from around the country.
The ASRT consists of 631 miles of waterways that currently passes through the counties of Cherokee, Etowah, Calhoun, St. Clair, Talladega, Shelby, Coosa, Chilton, Elmore, Autauga, Montgomery, Lowndes, Dallas, Wilcox, Monroe, Conecuh, Clarke, Baldwin and Mobile.
Shewbart said with the abundant water sources Franklin County has to offer through the Bear Creek waterway, members of the ASRT seemed to think Red Bay would make a great stop if the trail were to extend and pass through the county.
“There are 26 miles of water from the Bear Creek Dam to the Tishomingo State Park in Mississippi,” Shewbart said. “The halfway point for those 26 miles is at the Red Bay Dixie Youth Field, and we’ve been told it could make a great spot for boating enthusiasts to be able to put in and ride that stretch of the trail.”
Shewbart said several people from the ASRT visited the city this fall to take a canoe tour and see what the area had to offer.
“They took pictures and tested out the waterway and told us that we had excellent natural resources here and they want us to be part of the trail,” he said.
“The city of Red Bay and the Franklin County Commission have both signed resolutions backing our joining the trail, so now we’re just going through all the motions and red tape to get it approved.”
Shewbart said they’ll have to work with TVA to sort out several details since TVA has control over the Bear Creek Dam and floatway.
He said they’ll also have to figure out the best place to set up the area where boaters will actually put their boats and canoes into the water.
“We’re also talking about setting up a store that would sell different things these boaters would need on the trail,” Shewbart said.
“This could really be a great thing for our city and county if we can be a part of this trail and bring in tourists from all over. It will also be a great thing for those who are visiting Tiffin Motor Homes to do while they are in town.
“It’s just a step-by-step process and we’ll continue to move forward with it until we can get everything in place.”