448 pages, 130 colour photos, 27 colour maps
Exploring Wild Alabama is an exceptionally detailed guide to the most beautiful natural destinations in the state. From the rocky outcrops of the Appalachian plateaus to the sugar-white beaches of the Gulf Coast's Orange Beach and Dauphin Island, Alabama offers a wealth of remarkable sites to explore by car or canoe, bicycle or motorcycle, or on foot.
Intrepid explorers Kenneth M. Wills and L. J. Davenport divide Alabama into eleven geographic regions that feature state parks and preserves, national monuments and forests, wildlife management areas, Nature Conservancy and Forever Wild properties, botanical gardens and arboreta, as well as falls, caverns, and rock cliffs. Exploring Wild Alabama provides detailed site entries to one hundred and fifty destinations. Each section is beautifully illustrated with color photographs and area maps.
Exploring Wild Alabama includes a large state map and numerous local topographic maps to help readers locate each site. Individual site entries include
- written directions to each site and GPS coordinates;
- engaging notes about the ecology, landscape features, and local species of plants and animals of the sites; and
- international recreation symbols for hiking, fishing, boating, camping, hunting, and other fun outdoor activities.
Wills and Davenport guide travelers to Alabama jewels such as Sand Mountain's Chitwood Barrens, which harbors the rare Green Pitcher Plant and other exotic botanical species; Blowing Springs Cave in Lauderdale County, named for the cool air and the clear spring flowing out of the cave opening; Jackson Prairies in the Lime Hills region; and Booker's Mill in Conecuh County, offering diverse habitats and historic structures.
Long a favorite destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts, Alabama is fast becoming a major "ecotourism" destination, with thousands of travelers discovering the state's unsung natural treasures. Exploring Wild Alabama will be used and trusted by anyone who loves the outdoors – birders, botanists, cave explorers, cyclists, hunters, fishermen, rock climbers, canoeists, teachers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
"Exploring Wild Alabama goes beyond the classic guidebook for seeing many of the natural wonders our great state has to offer. It represents the culmination of extensive field research and exploration that brings the knowledge of natural sciences and history to the general public. The work is exceptionally well-written and includes detailed descriptions of the geology, geography, flora, and fauna of each location, as well as various activities to enjoy. I look forward to seeing this book on the shelves of bookstores, gift shops, and outdoor stores throughout Alabama."
– Randy Mecredy, former director of the Alabama Museum of Natural History
"Exploring Wild Alabama is a much needed resource. The authors have done a superlative job of describing and depicting the physiographic and ecological diversity of Alabama. To my knowledge, this is the first book to provide a statewide guide to actual places for the reader to visit. The writing is accessible to a general readership without being simplistic. I can't wait to have it on my own bookshelf!"
– Mark A. Bailey, coauthor of Turtles of Alabama
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Kenneth M. Wills is president of the Friends of Moss Rock Preserve and works currently for the Jefferson County Health Department. He has traveled the entire state as a natural resource planner and biologist for the Alabama Environmental Council.
L. J. Davenport is a professor of biology at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, and a past Carnegie Foundation Alabama Professor of the Year. He is the author of Nature Journal and a forthcoming book on Alabama botanists.