Access to our coastlines is a deeply held value in coastal Alabama and one of the identified values of the citizens of Mobile and Baldwin counties. What is access? Access is the ability to approach or enter a place…in this case, the pervasive waterways and open spaces of our coastal and estuarine region. Specifically, it means there is a place to park that enables easy entry to boat, kayak, fish, or swim. Mobile and Baldwin counties together have 600 miles of tidal shorelines! Public access for recreation and relaxation is a way of life here.

The MBNEP, in partnership with Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, has recently completed a comprehensive inventory of access points in the two-county area. Over 235 access sites have been identified. The sites were checked for ADA accessibility, parking, picnic areas, etc. Some other items on our list: Is fishing permitted? Is swimming allowed? Are there trails or areas for camping? Are leashed pets allowed? Does the site have public restrooms?

We are compiling all the information and developing recommendations for many of these locations so residents can spend more time safely accessing our waterways. These recommendations may include adding signage, shade, tables, or parking to make spaces truly accessible. The updated inventory will be available here on our website once completed.

Access improves our quality of life and inspires a connection with nature. As public access increases, we recognize that adequate funding and implementation of fair and reasonable regulatory practices to protect the places that we value are needed. We continue to partner with local and state governments, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure safe and abundant access is available to the coastal community.