Black Belt Bounty Is Perfect Christmas Gift: December Newsletter
The Perfect Christmas Gift: Black Belt Bounty
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association’s new deluxe hardcover coffee table book, Black Belt Bounty, was introduced at a November press conference at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center and is the perfect gift for anyone who loves great artwork, spellbinding prose and the Black Belt.
Celebrating the 10th anniversary of ALBBAA, Black Belt Bounty is 228 pages of words and images from award-winning photographers, artists and writers – plus, it includes amazing recipes from some renowned Alabama celebrity chefs: Stacy Lyn Harris, Chris and Idie Hastings and David Bancroft.
The book can be purchased for $49.95 at AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/blackbeltbountybook or at the following retail locations: 905 Gallery, Selma; Black Belt Treasures, Camden; Caliber, Homewood; Gibson’s Home Center, Union Springs; Goat Hill Museum, Montgomery; Vinson Market, Montgomery; Monroe County Museum, Monroeville; Montgomery Visitors Center; Orrville Farmer’s Market, Orrville; Sweet Creek Farm Market, Pike Road; Superior Pecans, Eufaula; and The Mustard Seed, Demopolis.
Included in Black Belt Bounty are interesting features such as First Hunters and Gatherers, Traditions and Rites of Passage, The Land and Water, Conservation Partners and Practices, Field Trial History, Champion Trainers and Dogs, Faces of the Black Belt, Sustainable Living, Signature Dishes from Black Belt Lodges and Wild Game Recipes from Celebrity Chefs.
Outdoor Tourism Impact Is More Than $1 Billion
At the same press event where Black Belt Bounty was introduced, the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association announced the results of a study that found a $1.1 billion economic impact on the region in 2018. More than 24,700 jobs in the region that paid $364 million in salaries and wages were supported by hunters and anglers, according to the study conducted by Southeast Research of Montgomery. State and local taxes paid from outdoor tourism amounted to $62 million, with $28 million going to the Alabama Education Trust Fund.
“This study shows that outdoor tourism is an incredible economic driver for the Black Belt,” said Thomas A. Harris, founder and president of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “The 24,000-plus jobs created are very important to the citizens in the region, many of whom might not have other employment opportunities. … We’re proud that this year we’re celebrating 10 years of helping attract hunters and anglers and others who want to vacation in the Black Belt to enjoy the outdoors.”
At the press conference, Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said, “I love the outdoors. I love Alabama, and I love the Black Belt. I have stories that are personal to me. I was fortunate to kill my first deer with my dad, hunting in Linden, Ala., when I was 5 years old. I killed my first deer with a bow hunting in Wilcox County when I was 12. I got to watch both of my sons shoot their first deer in the Black Belt. When you talk about the Black Belt, it’s very personal to me.
“Being in the hunting industry and traveling around the country, people know about the Black Belt. Just like South Dakota is known for pheasants or other places are known for great fishing. They know about the Black Belt because of what the Association has done. I want to thank Dr. (David) Bronner for helping us get the word out. It’s a huge industry, and we need to continue to promote it. We want to do everything we can to make sure the hunting and fishing industries in the Black Belt continue to be vibrant.”
Alabama Sen. Bobby Singleton of Greensboro celebrated the region’s wildlife industry. “Being a son of the soil, I want to thank Black Belt Adventures for their dedication to the area known as the Black Belt. While we may not be inundated with a lot of industries with smokestacks, we are inundated with a successful industry called wildlife. As an avid hunter and fisherman, myself, I enjoy the Black Belt as much as those who travel to the Black Belt to enjoy our rich culture.
“We look forward to hunters and fishermen who come into our area to visit our lodges, who come into the area to see and visit our historic civil rights sites. We welcome them to the area. We love to hear about that $1 billion industry in the Black Belt.”
In an article on the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website, Commissioner Chris Blankenship – a board member of the ALBBAA – told David Rainer, “Hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation are part of the way of life in Alabama, and especially important in the Black Belt. I have enjoyed participating on the Board of Alabama Black Belt Adventures to promote this portion of Alabama,” he said. “These 23 counties contain some of the best hunting land anywhere in the United States. It produces big bucks and turkeys, as well as big bass and crappie in the lakes and waterways. There are some pretty special small towns and special people in the Black Belt. I hope more people will venture out into this beautiful part of Alabama and visit the small-town shops and eclectic restaurants and attractions that really show some of the best of Alabama.”
Entries Flowing in for Big Buck Photo Contest
The eighth annual ALBBAA Big Buck Photo Contest will continue until the close of deer season on Feb. 10, 2020. The winner this year will receive a CVA .50 caliber Optima Muzzleloader with KonusPro Scope and gun case, valued at $535.
To enter, upload your photograph of any deer taken in one of the 23 Black Belt counties at our website: AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/bigbuckphotocontest. The winner will be the entry that receives the most votes at the website. You can vote once per day, per entry, per email address.
ALBBAA promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. These contests were created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.
Remember, the Black Belt includes the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox.
Schedule Set at Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area
Now’s the time to schedule a visit to the M. Barnett Lawley Forever Wild Field Trial Area near Greensboro. The landscape of the Black Belt prairie habitat is ideal for sporting dog competitions and this year’s schedule has nine clubs featuring three different types of contests – for fox hounds, pointing dogs and retrievers. (Click here for the full schedule.)
Hard Away Hounds, Cahaba Bend Field Trial Club, Bay Area HRC, North Alabama Retriever Club, Black Warrior Retriever Club, Montgomery Retriever Club, Central Alabama, Mobile Retriever Club and the Magnolia Retriever Club will be putting on the competitions that run from Dec. 22 through May 16-17.
Spectators are welcome. Lawn chairs are recommended for the retriever events. Pointing dog trials are held on horseback. For more information, contact Bill Mason at 334-624-9952.
Christmas in the Black Belt
If you’re looking for some fun family outings for the holidays, the Black Belt has got ’em! Here are a some things to put on your calendar for the next few weeks.
Dec. 13-14 – Pioneer Museum, Ole Time Christmas, Troy. From 6 until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, the Pioneer Museum’s Ole Time Christmas will bring memories to life by celebrating Christmas of days gone by. Come to see colorful decorations, holiday treats, storytelling, ornament-making, Christmas music, Santa and lots more. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors age 60 and older, $8 for students age 6-college and free for children 5 and younger. The Pioneer Museum is at 248 U.S. Highway 231 North in Troy. Call 334-566-3597 for more information.
Through Dec. 25 – Christmas Lights Festival, Montgomery Zoo. From 5:30 until 9:30 p.m. each night, the Montgomery Zoo sparkles with thousands of lights and festive decorations where you can take a leisurely stroll or a brisk train ride or even gaze at the lights from the Zoofari Skylift Ride. Santa will be there, along with nightly entertainment, hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies. Admission includes one complimentary train ride. Photos with Santa, Skylift rides and concessions are available for additional fees. Admission is $10.
Dec. 14 and 21 – Breakfast with the Elves, Dream Field Farms, Union Springs. Enjoy a delicious breakfast feast while the youngsters decorate Christmas cookies with Mrs. Claus, make reindeer food, create a personalized Christmas craft, visit Santa and write a letter to the Jolly Ol’ Elf. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation or to get more information.
Dec. 20 – Christmas at the ANC Field Day, Alabama Nature Center, 3050 Lanark Road, Millbrook. Open to the public, but spots are filling fast. Come from 9:30 a.m. until noon to join Santa for a fun-filled day of outdoor Christmas activities. Enjoy a sleigh ride, campfire story time, make a festive craft, a nature activity and take a photo with Santa! In case of bad weather, activities will be moved indoors. Tickets for participating children are $10 (no charge for chaperones). Purchase tickets here.