Leave Only Footprints business and community partners are a vital part of the Clean Island initiative. Each of these entities helps spread education and information about the program, including rules and regulations, and even enforcing those rules.
The cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach each provide daily beachcombing services, including the collection of items left on the beaches after sunset. This collection is especially important, as it removes materials dangerous to the sea turtle nesting and hatching process. These items include tents, chairs, toys and trash that are either recycled or discarded. In 2016, the cities collected more than 161 tons of refuse and beach gear.
The Alabama Coastal Foundation plays an integral role in keeping the beaches beautiful through its annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup. Held for 29 years, the ACF organizes hundreds of volunteers who keep the trash out of the splash along Alabama’s coastal waterways. In the past 29 years, more than 750 tons of trash has been removed due to these efforts. The ACF also takes part in sustainability summits, oyster shell recycling programs and green events planning.
With miles of beaches, as well as 6,000 acres of land, the Gulf State Park works to not only maintain the pristine natural environment of the park system, but also to educate visitors and assist the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach in their sustainable tourism efforts. In conjunction with the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and the cities, the Gulf State Park hosts an annual e-recycling event. They also offer educational programs at the park’s Nature Center and pier for visitors and residents alike.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism works with vacation rental management companies and other businesses to ensure Leave Only Footprints messaging is distributed to guests before and during their vacation. Visitors will also find information on beach rules and how they can keep the beaches pristine in the two welcome centers.