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Ken Owens 
attracts outdoor enthusiasts with canoeing, camping, fishing, and 
fossil hunting

Click to enlarge
Ken Owens points to the view seen by campers on the knoll overlooking his catfish ponds.

Like many farmers Ken Owens, who raises cattle and catfish, was looking for ways to supplement his income by utilizing his land for other purposes. After surveying the situation, he realized that his farm was ideally suited for recreational use. 

Owens’s metal building, tipple and catfish feed storage bins are in the background just above his head.

Located on a knoll, which slopes down to the banks of the Sipsey River in Pickens County, the site offers a spectacular view of the Sipsey and surrounding countryside. Owens operates a campground and offers visitors the opportunity to camp for a night, week, or more while enjoying fishing on his property, canoeing on the Sipsey, or fossil hunting in Shark Tooth Creek.

Owens explains, “We put the canoes in at Lewiston and float down to Pleasant Ridge. The journey is eleven winding river miles and takes three to four hours to complete.” 

Upon arriving at Pleasant Ridge, guests may fish in one of Owens’s commercial catfish ponds or picnic. 

Owens states, “Canoeing on the Sipsey is a family activity because the river flows gently toward its confluence with the Tombigbee River.” 

Shark Tooth Creek, which traverses Owens’s property, got its name from the sharks’ teeth that can be found buried in the banks and bottom of the creek. The gravel in this small creek contains many sharks’ teeth, bone fragments, and fossils of fish and reptiles dating back to the Cretaceous period when this part of Alabama was part of the Gulf of Mexico. It is also possible to find fossilized droppings from sharks. You can recognize these fossils because of their unique appearance. Fossilized shark teeth from sixteen different species are found in this creek. 

Searching for fossils is the goal of most people who visit the creek. However, the area offers a great deal of basic geology. In addition to its geological potential, Shark Tooth Creek is extremely rich in plants and has an abundance of wild animals. 

Sharks' teeth
Owens’s fingers give perspective to a dozen specimens of fossilized sharks’ teeth found in and around Shark Tooth Creek.

The Museum of Natural History on the Tuscaloosa campus of the University of Alabama displays photographs of these sharks’ teeth.The Museum brings groups of children each year as a part of their summer program. Owens states, “There are between 20 and 40 kids in each

group. And each child is accompanied by one or both of their parents.” 

The University of Alabama natural history department also brings students to study the ecology and geology of the area. The Birmingham Paleontology Society, which learned of Shark Tooth Creek and its significance in 2004, also has taken an interest in these artifacts. 

Ken’s wife, Betty, is a full-time homemaker. They have two sons, Oliver and Taylor, who are eight and four, respectively. Oliver attends Pickens Academy and Taylor is in preschool at Aliceville. 

In addition to commercial catfish production, the Owenses have a commercial cow-calf operation. They use Brangus bulls from Cow Creek Ranch, which is operated by Joe Reznicek and his son, Matt. Ken trades with Elton Gibson, manager of Aliceville Farm Supply. Ken says that he is pleased with the products and service he receives from Gibson and all the employees at the Co-op.



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Date Last Updated January, 2006