A Shining Star in Sustainable Tourism
Unique in its commitment to sustainable tourism, The Lodge at Gulf State Park was carefully planned, built and now operated to adhere to the three pillars of sustainable tourism: environmentally friendly operations and facilities, support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage, and direct and tangible social and economic benefits to local people. In addition to the Ketra lighting that protects the turtle habitat, other sustainability features include:
- Onsite cleaning and filtering of all water displaced by site development. Storm water from the Lodge roofs and paving is naturally filtered and absorbed through functional wetland, rather than being diverted to a sewer
- Construction waste reclamation, with 70-75% of the project’s construction waste being recycled instead of going into a landfill
- The innovative Bycatch Seafood Program, which helps local fishermen sell any unintentional species caught, by purchasing this bycatch and serving it in The Lodge’s restaurants
Not only is The Lodge itself LEED Gold, it also holds the distinction of being the only hospitality project in the world to hold SITES Platinum certification. Securing this certification requires both a commitment to preserving the natural landscape and a robust education program. To meet the latter, the Lodge operates a full time Learning Campus that offers continuing education about how to minimize human impact on the environment. Finally, The Lodge has minimized light pollution in their parking lots and site space to ensure the sky is truly dark at night, earning it compliance with the requirements for dark sky approval from the International Dark-Sky Association.
In addition to the lodging portion of the property, the grounds also feature a Nature Center, an Interpretive Center — which has been described as “Alabama’s most environmentally friendly building” — and a Learning Campus, as well as nine different ecosystems with trails ready to be explored. It’s the perfect place to connect with nature, which has been one of Ketra’s goals from the very start.
Visit The Lodge at Gulf State Park for more information about the possibilities of sustainable tourism. And learn more about another project where Ketra has supported a powerful connection with wellness and nature in this case study.