Each year, approximately 4 million visitors make their way to the island to enjoy food, fun and family in a stunning natural environment. We love our temporary visitors and know that you understand what makes the island such a special place.
That’s why the Cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, the Alabama Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Alabama Coastal Foundation have joined forces to form the Clean Coast Partnership. We want to preserve the incredible beauty and health of the Island so we can all enjoy our coastal resources for years to come.
While you are here, you can help to protect the Island by doing the following during your stay:
- Avoid walking on vegetation; plant roots hold the fragile dunes together.
- Explore away from bird nesting areas. Human presence can frighten adult birds causing them to leave their young unattended. Nests may be located in the ground and camouflaged to resemble the surrounding environment; you can easily step on them.
- Dispose of all your trash and garbage properly. You can even pick up others’ trash along the way. Fish, birds, sea turtles and mammals can become entangled in fishing line. Plastic bags floating in the water resemble jellyfish; sea turtles can mistakenly eat them. You could even plan a visit during the Annual Coastal Cleanup each September.
- Invest in a reusable bag to carry your shopping purchases to avoid using plastic bags. You’ll be stylish and create less waste!
- Consider the best type of transportation to see the Island– your feet! Walking is not only a great form of exercise; it is eco-friendly and a great way to get to know the Island.
- Keep the natural ecosystem intact by avoiding the removal of shells, driftwood or other items you may find during your island explorations.
Turtle nesting season is from May-October and you can help protect this magnificent creature by doing the following:
- Avoid using flashlights or flash photography on the beach at night.
- Turn off outside patio lights and turn off all lights inside when not in use at night.
- Do not disturb turtle nests
- If you leave your beach chairs and toys on the beach overnight, but sure to pile the items together so that turtles don’t get tangled in your beach equipment.
Viewing wild dolphins in their natural habitat can be a thrilling experience. However, when we approach wild dolphins too closely, move too quickly, or make too much noise, we increase the risk of disturbing their natural behaviors, such as migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, and sheltering.
Dolphin are hunters, not beggars, but when people offer them food, they quickly learn begging behavior and lose their fear of humans, resulting in injuries to the dolphin from contact with vessels and from loss of survival skills.
For these reasons, the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits harassing, hunting, capturing, killing or feeding dolphin. Be Dolphin Smart and follow these guidelines:
Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins
Move away cautiously if dolphins show signs of disturbance
Always put your engine in neutral when dolphins are near
Refrain from swimming-with, touching, or feeding wild dolphins
Teach others to be Dolphin SMART
Be a Clean Boater
Take the Clean Boater Pledge: "I pledge to be a Clean Boater and follow Best Boater Practices (BBPs) to keep oil, sewage, toxic boat cleaning and maintenance products, plastics, cigarette butts and other trash, fishing gear and invasive species out of the water."
Consider using marinas that fly the Clean Marina flag. To learn more about the Mississippi-Alabama Clean Marina Program, visit the Clean Marinas web site. Check out the Tips for Clean Boaters while you’re there.
Stow That Line
Used fishing line is harmful to wildlife and to boat motors, but it can be recycled. Monofilament fishing line is non-biodegradable and lasts about 600 years in the aquatic environment. Even fishing line that is thrown in the garbage can end up in the environment by blowing out of the garbage can or landfill, or by being taken out by birds or animals, so please dispose of your fishing line responsibly. Look for monofilament recycling containers at marinas, boat ramps and tackle shops.
Do What the Locals Do
The Cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have these “Clean & Green” options in place for residents. Act like a local while you’re here and participate!
One gallon containers for disposal of your used cooking oil are available from both the City of Gulf Shores and the City of Orange Beach.
Community Recycle Stations for bulk disposal of paper/cardboard, plastics and aluminum are located:
In Gulf Shores:
Clubhouse Drive, between Whitney Bank and the Courthouse
In Orange Beach:
At City Hall, Golf Center, Justice Center, Library, Public Works and the Sportsplex.