Frank Jackson State Park is located one mile from the town of Opp in Covington County. The park's 2,050 acres surround the 1,037-acre Lake Frank Jackson, a natural stream-fed lake that is well known in the region for excellent fishing. The park has a staff of three people and annual operating expenses of $191,000. It had 25,000 visitors in 2009.
The state purchased the land and opened the park in 1970 as Lightwood Knot Creek State Park. In the early 1980s, a resolution introduced in the Alabama State Legislature officially changed the name to Frank Jackson State Park in honor of Frank Jackson, a long-time state representative from Covington County.
The park's modern campground features 32 campsites for recreational vehicles with water, electricity, and television hook-ups as well as a bathhouse. Campsites have picnic tables and fire rings with grill racks. All but six sites are located on the water. Picnic areas are located along the shoreline, and an island in the lake is connected to the mainland by a boardwalk. The site also has a playground and a picnic pavilion. There is no separate area for tent camping, but tents are permitted on the modern campsites.
Frank Jackson State Park is a popular fishing destination. The lake is managed and stocked by the Alabama State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with a variety of freshwater fish, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, white and black crappie, bream, and catfish. The park hosts a local bass-fishing tournament each spring. The lake has two boat launches, a beach area, and picnic facilities. There is a handicap accessible fishing platform at the northwest end of the dam off Highway 42.
For visitors seeking other recreational experiences, the park's two trails offer more than three miles of hiking that are favorite venues for birdwatchers and for wildlife viewing. The main trail access near the boardwalk has an educational kiosk at the entrance that provides information on birds and small mammals found in the park, and informational signs located along the trails describe native birds, animals, and vegetation. The second trail is accessed via a foot bridge that leads from the boat ramp and parking area to the island. This one-mile trail loops around the island and borders the shoreline.
Wildlife is abundant in the park, and waterfowl and shorebirds often can be spotted in and around the lake, as can alligators. The surrounding forest is home to deer, songbirds, squirrels, and other small mammals.
Each autumn, the park hosts the annual "Scarecrows in the Park," which features handmade scarecrows that line the walking trails during the months of October and November.
Thomas V. Ress
Published March 23, 2011
Last updated October 27, 2011