AL Tourism, National Geographic unveil geotourism project

Published: Mar. 25, 2014 at 10:16 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2014 at 10:16 PM CDT
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The National Geographic Society, in collaboration withthe Alabama Tourism Department, unveiled a new four state geotourism project Tuesday in Montgomery.

Some 341 Alabama listings are featured on the U.S. GulfCoast States Geotourism interactive website at usgulfcoaststatesgeotourism.comand on a mobile app. The project also includes a National Geographic created 37inch by 25 inch printed brochure with 200 points of interest from the fourstate regions.

"Partnering with National Geographic gives us a new wayto bring attention to many of our unique destinations," said state tourismdirector Lee Sentell.

Officials said the project is designed to showcase localnatural, cultural and historical locations in the gulf coast states of Alabama,Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

"The U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism guide and websiteshowcase what makes the region so culturally and geographically significant,"said James Dion of the National Geographic maps division. "This projectunderscores the importance of conserving the region's tremendous scenic,historic and cultural assets for future generations."

Grey Brennan, Alabama Tourism Department regionaldirector, called the project a plus for the state. "The National Geographicsociety is known worldwide and to have Alabama destinations listed on a websitedeveloped by their map division is a boost for tourism."

The tourism project started more than a year ago with acall for organizations and citizens to nominate local points of interest and aformation of the U.S. Gulf Coast States Geotourism Stewardship Council. Morethan 100 Alabamians submitted nominations that included sites and attractionsunique to their area such as local restaurants, wildlife and scenic trails, bedand breakfasts, historic attractions, fishing destinations, museums and artistgalleries.

Sites featured on the geotourism website in Huntsvilleinclude the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the Huntsville Depot, the HuntsvilleMuseum of Art and several restaurants.

In the Florence area, the Bankhead National Forest, theW.C. Handy Home and Festival and the Studios of Muscle Shoals are among thelistings.

The 16th Street Baptist Church, the Birmingham BotanicalGardens and the restaurants and shops of Five Points South are some of thesites featured in the Birmingham area.

Featured sites and events in the Tuscaloosa area includethe Moundville Native American Festival, Lake Lurleen State Park and theBattle-Friedman House.

In the Anniston area, Mount Cheaha State Park, the BermanMuseum of the World, the Anniston Museum of Natural History and Frog Pond USAand listed.

The F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum, the First WhiteHouse of the Confederacy and Historic Downtown Montgomery are among theMontgomery listings. 

In the Selma area, Gee's Bend, artist Charlie Lucas, OldCahawba Archaeological Park and the Selma-to-Montgomery Historic Trail areamong the listings.

In Tuskegee, the sites featured include the TuskegeeAirmen National Historic Site, Tuskegee University and the Tuskegee Human andCivil Rights Multicultural Center.

Chattahoochee State Park and Landmark Park are among thesites featured in the Dothan area.

The 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center, Mobile's Mardi Grasand the historic Battle House Hotel are among the listings for Mobile.

The Alabama Coastal Birding Trail, Gulf State Park andAlabama's Offshore Artificial Reef Zone are among the listings in the GulfShores and Orange Beach area.

The National Geographic society has developed similargeotourism projects around the world including the Western Balkans in SoutheastEurope, Eastern Newfoundland and California's Redwood Coast.

Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains orenhances the geographical character of a place; its environment, culture,aesthetics, heritage and well-being of its residents.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Dept. of Tourism