Posts Tagged ‘Oil spill’


Gulf State Park in Alabama is one of the largest public projects to be funded through the Deepwater Horizon settlement. Many more are coming.



The Lodge at Gulf State Park is built directly into the dunes, so when you walk from the parking lot into the spacious lobby, you’re looking straight through the glass back wall of the hotel, across a stretch of white-sand beach, and out into the seemingly endless Gulf of Mexico.

For Alabama, whose precious few miles of beaches all but carry the state’s tourism economy, this was the essential goal of the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project: A view of the sea for visitors and, says Matt Leavell, the director of design and planning at the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, “an experience of being in the dunes.”

But being in the dunes can mean a lot of things. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan swept across the dunes and destroyed the original lodge, which was built in the 1970s. In 2010, tar balls washed onto the beach as oil gushed from an underwater well operated by BP after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers. The night before the ribbon-cutting at the new lodge in 2018, as dune-grass plantings were still taking hold, strong winds blew about two feet of sand into an area between the lobby and the restaurant, and crews scrambled to shovel it away before the governor arrived at 8:00 a.m.

“There is something really unique about designing in a dynamic dunescape,” says Kate Tooke, ASLA, a principal at Sasaki, which did the landscape architecture work for the lodge while completing a master plan for enhancements throughout the state park. “Every other landscape you design in, you can sort of assume that the landscape is going to stay mostly where it is. But a dunescape is constantly changing. Dunes are growing, they’re shifting, wetlands are forming, and swales are forming in different places, and that’s part of a healthy dunescape, to have that growth and change over time.” (more…)

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The things our art director, Chris McGee, hated to leave out of the current issue of LAM.

Photo by Billy Pope, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

From “Roll, Tide” by Jared Brey in the January 2022 issue, about Gulf State Park in Alabama, where compensation from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is flowing into coastal remediation projects.

“A new dune view.”


As always, you can buy this issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine at more than 250 bookstores, including many university stores and independents, as well as at Barnes & Noble. You can also buy single digital issues for only $5.25 at Zinio or order single copies of the print issue from ASLA. Annual subscriptions for LAM are a thrifty $59 for print and $44.25 for digital. Our subscription page has more information on subscription options.

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