The Alabama Recreation and Parks Association has been fighting against relentless budget cuts as legislature continues to move money from the department for a fifth consecutive year. On October 15, 2015 five state parks were closed after three million dollars were moved from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Over the last five years, more than $30 million has been transferred from the ADCNR to the general fund to support other state programs. Studies show that this could be just the beginning as more parks could face closure in projected 2016 budget cuts.
Between September in November during my graduating semester I traveled over 2,500 miles accounting for over 48 hours on the road to bring attention to our vanishing state parks. At each park I have took spherical panoramas, which allowed me to capture imagery that people can interact with in a virtual space, and as a printed document in an angular fish-eye fashion. I believe that by allowing viewers to virtually immerse themselves in the varying conditions and beauty of each park will give the people of Alabama a greater sense of ownership and pride for what makes our state beautiful.
For this exhibition I displayed images of all 22 Alabama State Parks that I visited. During this period I visited Alabama’s highest and lowest geographical points and everything in between. I have observed parks that were maintained, and parks that seemed almost forgotten. Alabama has one of the most bio diverse states in the nation and as each state park closes, so will the ability to protect these natural resources.
It is my hope that sharing these experiences and images will increase awareness and politically motivate citizens of Alabama to take a stand for what makes our state one of the most beautiful in our nation.