FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 24, 2012) -- Soldiers and Families come to Lake Tholocco to enjoy an array of outdoor recreation activities and the new outdoor recreation facility offers a "one-stop shop" for whatever their needs may be, according to John O. Clancy, outdoor recreation and Lake Tholocco lodging program manager.

Members of the Fort Rucker garrison command, outdoor recreation and Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation gathered at the site of the new 3,970-square-foot facility on West Beach at Lake Tholocco to cut the ribbon and officially open the new facility May 21.

"It's my pleasure to be here today to cut the ribbon," said Col. James A. Muskopf, Fort Rucker garrison commander. "I've had the privilege as the garrison commander over the last 22 months to cut ribbons and dedicate many facilities -- six of which were in the MWR arena. [These facilities] have made life much better for our employees and make life better for those people that we support the civilians, Family members and Soldiers."

Outdoor recreation offers recreational activities on and around Lake Tholocco to Soldiers, Families and the local communities, said Clancy, adding that people can use the new facility to get permits and licenses for fishing and hunting, get information on recreation equipment to use ,and visit the country store for camping and refreshment needs.

Col Jessie O. Farrington, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence deputy commander, was also present to cut the ribbon and said he hopes Families and the local community will enjoy what the new facility offers for all of their outdoor recreation needs.

"[The Directorate of Public Works] and all the contractors have worked to make this a world-class facility," he said, adding that Lake Tholocco is the place to go for recreation for Soldiers that might not be able to afford a trip down to the beach.

Clancy said the need for the new facility came as outdoor recreation began to outgrow the older facility and wasn't able to provide everything that patrons wanted and needed.

"Our new facility added a country store, and more hunting and fishing supplies," he said. "Outdoor recreation also combined with Lake Lodging [to make it easier] for patrons to get everything they need in one area."

The commitment that the Army has put into the new facilities to take care of Families and Soldiers is "absolutely impressive," said Farrington.

"It just shows the continuous commitment that [the Army has] to our local community," he said. "From the cabins that we have on West Beach, the improved recreational vehicle sites and the new cabins going up on East Beach."

The ribbon cutting ceremony showed the Army's commitment as well as individual commitment as Muskopf gave recognition and presented an award and a coin to Lt. Col. Craig Unrath, Outdoor Recreation advisory president and recipient of the Friends of Recreation award, for his hundreds of hours of volunteer time in outdoor recreation.

Unrath also won the Atlantic region Friends of Recreation award.

"This is one of the best garrison command teams and staffs that I've ever worked with," said Farrington. "I just want to say how important this is to Fort Rucker and the community -- it's just over the top."

Farrington compared the efforts of Fort Rucker's MWR efforts and facilities to those of the Navy and Air Force's recreation facilities near the beach, and said "we definitely rival them with the MWR facilities that we have at Fort Rucker."

For more information on outdoor recreation and the new facility, visit