Snowbird Season Begins on Alabama Coast

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GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) - Monday marks the beginning of snowbird
season for Alabama's beaches. That's the name given to northern
retirees who flock to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach to escape snow
in their hometowns. Some stay for one month and others stay until

Herb Malone of the Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau says early indications are that 2007 will be a very good year.

Officials say the snowbirds will number about 16-thousand in a good year. But the last two winters were down because the Alabama coast was recovering from extensive hurricane damage.

At Gulf State Park, Superintendent Hugh Branyon says the park's 496 campsites are ready for the snowbird season and more than 400 have already been reserved.

Michigan sends the largest number of snowbirds to Alabama's beaches. In past years, they've had a club that has counted as many as one thousand members. President Chuck Parrott says he's expecting the numbers this season to return to near pre-Hurricane Ivan levels.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)