Spotlight June 2024

Alabama Living Magazine

Baldwin County trail retains top spot in national award list

The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail offers numerous outdoor opportunities.
Photo courtesy of Gulf State Park

For the second year in a row, the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail in Baldwin County has been chosen as the top recreational trail in the country in the 2024 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. 

Established in 2003 as a multi-use recreational trail connecting Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Gulf State Park, the trail is a system of paved and unpaved paths and boardwalks providing trail users with access to several distinct ecosystems and outdoor recreational opportunities. It is named in honor of Hugh Branyon, who served as superintendent of Gulf State Park for more than 30 years. 

Along the trail are biking, hiking, wildlife watching, playgrounds, fishing and camping opportunities and more.

The trail took first place over nine other trails in the U.S., including the 78-mile Greenbrier River Trail in West Virginia, a former railroad now used for hiking, biking and horseback riding, and Missouri’s 240-mile Katy Bike Trail, one of the longest Rails-to-Trails projects in the U.S. For more about the trail, visit and choose Gulf State Park trails.

Magazine welcomes summer intern

Jenna Parnell, a senior at Auburn University, is working as an intern at the Alabama Rural Electric Association, publisher of Alabama Living, this summer. Parnell is from Clanton and is majoring in agricultural communications. 

“I am so excited to be interning at Alabama Living,” says Parnell, “because it not only strengthens me but also fosters some amazing connections in the industry.” 

“We are looking forward to having Jenna’s help this summer,” says AREA Communications Vice President Lenore Vickrey. “She’s already proven herself a hard worker who is eager to learn about the world of cooperative communications.” Parnell is assisting the communications staff with social media, copy editing and writing stories.

Whereville, Alabama

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the July issue.

Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

Do you like finding interesting or unusual landmarks? Contribute a photo you took for an upcoming issue! Remember, all readers whose photos are chosen also win $25!

May’s answer: The town of Stevenson built this memorial to the victims of the TWA Flight 800, which crashed July 17, 1996, just 12 minutes after takeoff from JFK International Airport in New York on its way to Paris, France. Five members of the Stevenson community died in the crash, along with the 225 others on board. It was the third-deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history. 

Despite initial theories of a terrorist act, the National Transportation Safety Board, after an exhaustive investigation, determined that the probable cause of the explosion was an electrical short that detonated vapors in the center wing fuel tank. The memorial was dedicated July 17, 2013. (Photo by Lenore Vickrey of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Mike Dumas of Marshall-DeKalb EC.


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