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Gov. Robert Bentley announced Thursday that a $60,000 grant will be divided among nine east Alabama counties to promote tourism in areas once frequented by gold miners.
The grant, funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, will help business and government leaders identify and promote tourist attractions in the following counties: Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Coosa, Randolph, Talladega and Tallapoosa.
"Alabama's Piedmont region and Appalachian foothills offer spectacular scenery, fascinating history, wonderful attractions and great food and lodging," Bentley said. "I hope this funding will lead more people to discover the great things this part of Alabama offers."
A new website will be designed as a hub for information on local tourist attractions and other recreational opportunities for visitors. The University of Alabama's Center for Economic Development also plans to meet with chambers of commerce, government leaders and merchant groups in the nine counties to develop strategies for promoting tourism in each region.
The following is a list of some of the tourist attractions in the counties included in the grant:
Calhoun County: Anniston Museum of Natural History, Chief Ladiga (Silver Comet Trail).
Chambers County: Chattahoochee River and West Point Lake.
Cherokee County: Weiss Lake and Cherokee Rock Village.
Clay County: Blue Berry Festival and Alabama Gold Camp.
Cleburne County: Talladega National Forest and Terrapin Creek (canoeing).
Coosa County: Hatchet and Weogufka creeks (canoeing); Flagg Mountain Trail.
Randolph County: Lake Wedowee and Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail
Talladega County: Talladega International Super Speedway and DeSoto Caverns
Tallapoosa County: Lake Martin and Horseshoe Bend National Military Park