FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Karen Beasley, Director of Marketing & Communications
Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381
Jim and Faye Lacefield Receive Lasting Impression Award
Decatur, Ala. (September 21, 2023) - The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA) has honored retired educators Jim and Faye Lacefield with the 2023 Lasting Impression Award. The award is among 11 that comprise the 2023 PEAK Awards that were presented today at the AMLA Annual Meeting held at Lake Guntersville State Park in Guntersville, Ala.
Representing the highest achievement in North Alabama tourism, the PEAK Awards program pays tribute to tourism leaders, attractions, festivals and organizations that set the bar for North Alabama’s $4.3 billion tourism industry. The Lasting Impression Award is presented to an attraction, event, person or organization that has provided a “lasting impression” on tourists thereby improving the overall image of tourism in North Alabama.
For years, Jim and Faye Lacefield generously shared their private property to the public as Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve (https://www.landtrustnal.org/properties/cane-creek-preserve/). Typically more than 17,000 people visit each year. The 693-acre property is filled with canyons, at least 10 different waterfalls, 15 miles of trails and more wildflowers that can be counted. Their recent donation of all but 20 acres to the Land Trust of North Alabama not only expands available resources but ensures that Cane Creek Canyon will continue to stand as a beacon, inviting people to connect with and cherish the great outdoors for years to come.
“With the PEAK Awards, we celebrate and recognize the best of the best in the North Alabama tourism industry. These individuals and organizations go beyond the call of duty to enhance the visitors’ experiences and are the reason the tourism and travel industry continues to be a driving force in North Alabama’s economy,” said AMLA President/CEO Tami Reist.
Eleven awards were handed out at the awards presentation, held during the annual meeting. This year’s award winners are:
Organization of the Year
The Organization of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member organization that has contributed significantly to the betterment and development of tourism in North Alabama in the past year.
Winner: Tennessee RiverLine
Event of the Year
The Event of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member special event or festival that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Rock the South
Attraction of the Year
The Attraction of the Year award is presented to the AMLA member attraction that has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater
Good Neighbor Award
The “Good Neighbor” Friend of Tourism Award is presented to a person or organization whose body of work has had a significant impact on tourism in the past year.
Winner: Julie Patton, Guntersville Museum
Northern Star Award
The Northern Star Award is presented to an individual, such as a ranger, guide and a front line employee, who has gone “above and beyond” expectations.
Winner: Tim and Kim Horton, Willow Oak Lodge
Young Professional of the Year Award
The Young Professional of the Year “Green Apple Award” is awarded to a person who has been in the tourism business less than seven years and has exhibited extraordinary leadership skills and initiative associated with their position.
Winner: Blaze Bishop, Franklin County Chamber of Commerce
Tourism Professional of the Year
The Tourism Professional of the Year award is presented to an individual or employee of an AMLA member organization who has made a great contribution to tourism in the past year.
Winner: Danielle Gibson, Decatur Morgan County Tourism
Lasting Impression Award
The Lasting Impression Award is presented to an attraction, event, person or organization that has provided a “lasting impression” on tourists thereby improving the overall image of tourism in North Alabama.
Winner: Jim and Faye Lacefield, Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve
The Chairman’s Cup Award is given annually to a travel writer or media person who has over time demonstrated support of AMLA, the region and its tourism activities.
Winner: Payton Walker, Tennessee Valley Living on WAFF 48
The President’s Award is presented to any person or organization whose tourism-related project created awareness or presented a positive image for North Alabama in the past year.
Winner: Angie Pierce, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
North Alabama Ambassador of the Year
The award recognizes the work and achievements of a top performing North Alabama Ambassador in the past year.
Winner: Jennifer Clark, Berry, Ala.
In addition to the PEAK Awards, six individuals have been named a North Alabama “String of Pearls” leader. The “String of Pearl Leaders” award was created to recognize North Alabama’s cornerstone professionals in the tourism and travel industry. In 1960, Dick Ordway, Decatur Chamber of Commerce Director and one of the visionaries and founders of AMLA said, “Even back then we saw North Alabama had a number of quality destinations laid out across the region next to the Tennessee River like a string of pearls.” His efforts were the cornerstone for the creation of AMLA and his vision is what the “string of pearls” recognition is based on. Honorees are:
John Dersham, executive director, DeKalb Tourism
Trisa Collier, welcome center administrator, Alabama Tourism Department
Leigh Cross, Alabama Tourism Department
Debbie Wilson, executive director, Muscle Shoals Sound Studios
Katy Norton, president, Marshall County Tourism and Sports
Leslie Ecklund, CEO, Burritt on the Mountain
Images of award recipients are available upon request by calling AMLA at 800.648.5381 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the $4.3 billion North Alabama travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, golf courses, restaurants, accommodations and vendors. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381, by visiting www.NorthAlabama.org and by following us on social media @VisitNorthAL.