B.A.S.S., Alabama Power break ground on Smith Lake pavilion

B.A.S.S., Alabama Power break ground on Smith Lake pavilion
Jordan Wiggins of Cullman holds up bass he caught on Smith Lake during the first day of the 2019 BassPro.com Central Open. A new pavilion will allow future Bassmaster tournaments and even smaller, local clubs to weigh in on Smith Lake. (James Overstreet/B.A.S.S.)

Work has started on a new public-use weigh-in pavilion at Smith Lake, which is part of a partnership between B.A.S.S. and Alabama Power.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance volunteers recently broke ground on the project at Lewis Smith Lake Dam Boat Ramp in Walker County.

The pavilion will feature holding tanks for fish, which reduce stress and increase survival rates. The covered pavilion will provide shade for tournament weigh-ins.

“This pavilion will provide a much-needed place for organizations to hold their weigh-ins, from local bass clubs to the largest Bassmaster Open tournaments,” said B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland.

Gilliland thanked Alabama Power for its support of the project. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources also donated engineering expertise.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance volunteers are handling construction and say the project is an opportunity for their members to partner with the community.

“We’re proud to partner with B.A.S.S. and Alabama Power on this project, which will benefit Smith Lake anglers for years to come,” said Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Conservation Manager Robert Stroede. “Our union volunteers are passionate about the outdoors and conservation, and they enjoy sharing their time and trade skills giving back to their communities.”

“As part of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and a high school fishing coach, I am proud to see this project underway and excited about the positive impact it will have on the fast-growing high school fishing circuit,” said Casey Shelton, business manager, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers System Council U-19.

In 2014, B.A.S.S., Alabama Power, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Shelby County and volunteers from Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation teamed up to open a similar weigh-in pavilion at Beeswax Landing on Lay Lake.

“We are thrilled to work with B.A.S.S., the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the local community to construct this pavilion that will enhance this access point on Smith Lake,” said Zeke Smith, Alabama Power executive vice president of External Affairs. “We look forward to it opening and playing a part in showcasing the state of Alabama’s beautiful waterways.”

The project is expected to be completed in early spring.

“This is a great example of a diverse group of entities coming together to achieve one goal,” said Chris Blankenship, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “We are proud to be a part of this project and continue our mission of accessibility to the natural resources of our great state.”

Smith Lake will now have a new place for public tournaments to weigh-in their catches. (B.A.S.S.)

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