Snowbirds Fly Away

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There are plenty of reasons to enjoy snowbird life at Topsail Hill State Preserve. Just listen to Kathy Reed.

"The preserve here is absolutely gorgeous, the beaches are gorgeous, but most importantly, we have wonderful community."

Like many snowbirds, Kathy stays at Topsail for months at a time. Unfortunately, by this time next year these birds will be extinct. That's because Topsail will now enforce state regulations limiting the stay of visitors in state parks to 30 days.

The reasoning? State officials say Topsail is a park for all, not a private resort for a few. The state bought Topsail from a private owner five years ago, but park management continued to handle RV reservations, allowing long-term stays.

Reservations have now moved to a statewide system, necessitating the change to state rules. Park officials understand the disappointment of snowbirds, but agree with the change.

Park Manager Tommy Ervin says, "We've had great friendships and fellowships with these folks over the years. On the other hand we've had folks that couldn't get into topsail."

Kathy says many snowbirds plan to stay in Alabama next year, a loss everyone, not just Topsail, will feel.

"The people that will come in here for two weeks will bring most everything they need for that time. They won't need to have their car greased and oiled. They won't need to go to the supermarket and get loads of groceries," says Kathy.

She says they also won't bring that sense of community she has come to love, a community she will now look for somewhere else.

Those who reserve more than 30 days before November 5 are being allowed to keep their reservation.