I love Alabama. The people. The attractions. The natural beauty. And, when people from other places ask me what we are known for in my southern state, I usually say something like: in the north we have the U.S Space & Rocket Center; in central Alabama we have the culinary, arts and culture scene; and in the southern part of the state, we have our coastal communities of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. Folks always seem surprised when I mention the word “coastal” in conjunction with Alabama. And, they are even more intrigued when I say that we stake claim to the most beautiful beaches in the world – thanks in part to the Leave Only Footprints initiative.
Both Gulf Shores and Orange Beach (Alabama’s coastal communities) have adopted the Leave Only Footprints initiative to ensure the prime vacation destination will be clean and gorgeous for generations to come including wildlife and marine life. Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to practice sustainable travel by cleaning up before leaving the beaches – pick up trash, gather your beach gear by one hour post-sunset and just use good judgment in leaving things the way you found them.
Visitors help with Leave Only Footprints Initiative
Each year some five million visitors come to the white, sandy shores of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. Why? The soft, white sand is not only perfect for walking or jogging on, but sunbathing can be enjoyed without a lounge chair. And, then there’s the amazing shades of azure blue and turquoise Gulf of Mexico waters bumping up against the beloved beach – it’s breathtaking. The best part is something I hear over and over – the beaches are SO clean!
I bet as a fellow traveler and/or beach lover, you’ll agree with me when I say I’d rather see seashells glistening in the sun instead of trash. Keeping the water clean is easy when everyone pitches in and keeps their garbage and debris off the beach, so it never ends up in the ocean. It creates a healthier environment for sea turtles and other forms of marine life. A perfect example is how oysters grow so plump and healthy for seafood lovers to enjoy.
With lots of signage and social media, visitors (especially those who are Alabama beach regulars like myself) are aware of the Leave Only Footprints initiative and are all to eager to oblige. After all, the results are stunning! And, everyone benefits.
What the Leave Only Footprints Initiative means for the future
By keeping Alabama’s beaches clean and trash-free, we give future generations the opportunity to enjoy our state’s most treasured destinations – Gulf Shores and Orange Beach – in the most lovely condition of all. We keep the calling card to our coast as it should be – inviting to all.
My family has been visiting the Alabama coast for decades (yep, I”m getting old) and this year we spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Gulf Shores. We had two special guests this year. . . our two grandbabies. Watching them take it all in was priceless – the water and the waves – and seeing little feet leave impressions in the sand as well as on my heart. It resonated with me and brought back memories of yesteryear when the footprints were from my little ones.
Someday the fabulous beaches of Sweet Home Alabama will be graced by the presence of my great-grandchildren and so on. They will be in awe of the natural beauty and grandeur of this great treasure we harbor in the same manner in which I celebrate it today.
Leave Only Footprints – yea, I’m good with that.
I was hosted for the purpose of this review. Opinions are uniquely my own and I was not paid for this review. Photos are my own as well.