Alabama’s Highpoint Offers New Year’s Eve Festivities

The observation tower at the summit of Cheaha.

Finding the right New Year’s Eve activity can drive anyone crazy this time of year.  Do you want to sit at home and watch the College Football Playoff, head to a party, celebrate with a late dinner, or just call it a night early to get a jump on 2017?  For highpointers, there could be one more decision to be made.

Cheaha State Park in Alabama will be in the celebrating spirit on December 31 with its annual Turkey Drop.  The gates to the park will open at 9pm, and Pinhoti the Turkey will be at the observatory at the state’s highest point teaching the Turkey Trot to visitors.  

At midnight, a lighted ball will be dropped to celebrate the start of 2017, and breakfast will be served in the CSP restaurant.

For highpointers, this is a great chance to make a first ( or second, or third, or….) trip to a state highpoint and mix in a little New Year’s Eve fun as well. 

The following day, the park will host a First Day Hike that ends at Alabama’s highpoint.  The hike will start at the Bigfoot Trail Head.

Report: Alabama’s Cheaha State Park Expected to Have Operated at a Profit for Fiscal Year

Club member Ben Sutton hanging around at his third highpoint, Cheaha Mountain, in 2013.

Club member Ben Sutton hanging around at his third highpoint, Cheaha Mountain, in 2013.

Not that long ago, Alabama state parks felt the threats of budget cuts and closures, and for highpointers, that led to concerns about potential access to the highpoint of the state, Cheaha Mountain, which is located in Cheaha State Park.

According to this report from The Anniston Star, the past fiscal year, which ended September 30, should bring good news for all of Alabama’s state parks, including the home of the state’s highpoint, which was expected to have shown a profit.

In response to the budget crunch, Cheaha State Park raised its fees and operated its lodge at reduced hours during the winter. Greg Lein, director of Alabama’s state park system told The Anniston Star that Cheaha’s numbers looked good, even though he was unsure of the attendance for the year at the park.

Alabama voters will have an opportunity to vote on Amendment 2 in November, which would change the way that park fees can be used by the state’s Legislature.