A Breathtaking Drive through Alabama

It can be easy to overlook the amount of natural beauty the Gulf contains. While BP’s damage lingers in many coastal areas of the Gulf, there are still gorgeous areas to promote. One recent effort in Alabama is to establish the Tensaw Parkway Scenic Byway, which will take road trip sightseeing to a whole new level.The state prizes this corridor (connecting state routes 225 and 59) as a “link” through its “cache of riches.” Once the Scenic Byway designation is approved, promotional materials and signs will point out over 50 areas of interest, including many natural treasures.The byway’s path spans the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center, itself a wetland crossroads for 5 sparkling water bodies; the Tensaw River woodlands of Historic Blakeley Park, also a historic Civil War site; multiple Wildlife Management Areas; Cliff’s Landing; the Mobile Bay mudflats; and Meaher State Park.A number of American history troves, often situated in stunning natural surroundings, will also be highlighted; including Battleship Memorial Park, Baldwin County Bicentennial Park, and Fort Mims State Memorial Park.The route is marked with boat landings and other access points to nature at different intervals, and it is great for wildlife fans who don’t necessarily want to get into deep wilderness. If anything attests to the byway’s length, it’s the variety of environments it passes through– spanning Northern valleys to coastal swamps. Even if passersby don’t stop to take in these gems, a road running parallel provides a good album’s worth of visuals. Baldwin County Archives Director notes a very important fact: The area’s scenery is indeed valuable, but has gone unpromoted. That’s about to change. The scenic stretch has been a work in progress for 2 years, and at this stage, the only work left is for the state’s Designation Committee to vote on the Byway’s name. Very soon, we all will have drive-by access to these no-longer-hidden gems on the Gulf.Jacob Dilson is GRN’s Media and Communications Intern.

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