Classic Cullman 2017 - Page 64

sit a spell / Classic Cullman cullman’s outdoor oasis By Benjamin Bullard Call it Cullman’s version of Central Park: when you enter Sportsman Lake Park, you enter another world — even though you haven’t left city life completely behind. Sportsman Lake is a scenic destination surrounded by the city, while feeling a world away. Nearly 200 acres in size, the park and its massive, picturesque lake were constructed from scratch in the 1950s. Recreation has been the idea from the beginning, and, under the management of the Cullman County Parks and Recreation Department, it doesn’t disappoint. The park offers something for people of all ages. The main attraction is, of course, the lake itself: a large, incredibly scenic body of water teeming with wildlife. The park is an immensely popular place for family and company outdoor gatherings, with picnic areas and a pavilion, shady walkLQJWUDLOVDQGSOHQW\RIGXFNVJHHVHDQGʏVKWRIHHG Stand at the shore or toss bread crumbs from the pier, but be sure to bring a camera. Feeding the ducks — never far from wherever you are — is a time-honored childhood memory for thousands of local young adults who grew up visiting the lake. Off the water, kids can also enjoy a small-scale train which follows a rail line HQFLUFOLQJWKHODNHVKRUH7KHUHȊVʏVKLQJDQKROHPLQLDWXUHJROIFRXUVH paddle boats and a brand new, oversized kids’ splash pad and play area. A new paved, multi-purpose trail for bikers, in-line skaters and walkers has the grown ups covered, too. Local enthusiasts love the bike trails in particular. “I don’t think everybody in our own community even realizes all the places we have where they can ride mountain bikes with their kids,” said Cullman resident Ben Harrison, who regularly takes his family biking on the Sportsman Lake trails. “There’re a million things you and your kids can do, once you have the exposure to know that these things are right here in Cullman. photos the cullman times & cullman county economic development classic 2016.indd 64 8/31/2016 10:35:41 AM