Roland Cooper State Park is located in Wilcox County, six miles northeast of the town of Camden. The park sits on the shores of the William "Bill" Dannelly Reservoir (also known as Miller's Ferry), a 22,000-acre lake that was impounded in 1969 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Miller's Ferry Lock and Dam. The park was established on land leased from the Corps and was named Bridgeport State Park. The name was changed to its present name in the 1970s to honor William Roland Cooper, a politician from Camden who served in the Alabama state senate. The park has a staff of six people and annual operating expenses of $386,000. It had 28,000 visitors in 2009.
This 236-acre park is a popular destination for anglers, who use it as a base when fishing the waters of the reservoir. Dannelly Reservoir is one of the most renowned angling destinations in the region for its large populations of game fish, and the park often hosts regional bass tournaments. Largemouth bass and crappie are the most sought-after prizes, and anglers are frequently rewarded with largemouth bass weighing more than three pounds. Channel and blue catfish also are frequent catches in the reservoir, and blue catfish weighing more than 30 pounds have been pulled from the lake. Other common fish are hybrid striped bass, striped bass, and bream. Anglers may rent johnboats, and there are boat launches in the park as well for boat owners.
Amenities for non-anglers include a par 36, 3,300-yard, nine-hole golf course with a driving range and a clubhouse, constructed in 1972. The golf course is laid out among hills and offers picturesque views of the lake.
Recreational vehicle campers can rent one of 47 modern campsites with views of the reservoir. Campsites include picnic tables, grills, water, and electrical and sewer hook-ups. A bathhouse and laundry facilities are conveniently located within the campground. A separate primitive camping area has 10 sites near the water. Picnic areas are located amid a towering pine forest overlooking the lake and include tables, grills, pavilions, and rest rooms. The pavilions have tables and fireplaces, and there is a playground nearby. The park also has six two-bedroom furnished cabins for rent; each features a stove, refrigerator, dishes, cooking utensils, central heat/air, television, and barbeque grill.
The park's 1.5 miles of nature trails provide views of the reservoir. One trail follows the shoreline of the reservoir, offering hikers glimpses of Canada geese, ducks, great blue herons, turtles, and beavers. The other trail winds through pine forests in the heart of the park, and travelers often encounter deer, snakes, and other wildlife.
Thomas V. Ress
Published August 12, 2010
Last updated August 13, 2010