Heritage and Culture
Preserving our coast’s heritage and culture was identified by the community due to concerns that the bay and estuarine waters providing such pleasure to many as youth will not be there for their grandchildren to enjoy in the future. This subject takes into account the more than 10,000 years of history related to the estuary, as evidenced by ancient oyster shell mounds like those found on Dauphin Island, the deltaic remains of Indian cultures from long ago, sunken Civil War ships scattered across the estuary bottom, and the anglicized names of residents reflecting the French heritage of coastal Alabama. Economies have long thrived because of these natural ecosystems. Alabama's Coastal Connection Corridor Management Plan identifies, promotes, and enhances the assets, including history, of Alabama’s coast through the development and implementation of a corridor management plan and through obtaining both state and national designation as a Scenic Byway. This byway courses across coastal Alabama through communities of residents whose vocations frequently reflect those of generations past: commercial fishermen, shrimpers, crabbers, and oystermen; ship builders and outfitters; seafood processors, farmers, and restaurateurs. The pride in coastal Alabama is tangible, reflected in the numbers who see fit to remain where their ancestors settled, were born, and lived.
Heritage and culture are not limited to fishing villages and working waterfronts but include the concerns of grandparents who remember a clear Dog River unencumbered by shoreline trash; a navigable D’Olive Bay not choked by sediment; a flourishing Delta without dying trees or eroded marshes; and intact, sea oat-covered sand dunes. Preserving these treasures for their grandchildren and future generations could not be more important. Heritage and culture are about protecting all of the things long valued in coastal Alabama – to be experienced and not just memories accessible through books or computer screens.