Free Entrance To Grayton Beach & Topsail Hill Preserve State Parks

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by SoWal Staff, May 16, 2017.

  1. SoWal Staff

    SoWal Staff Serving the Community! Staff Member

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    Walton County Commissioners approved covering entrance fees for day use at Grayton Beach State Park and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park from May 29th running through September 4th.

    "This is essentially going to add two more regional accesses for us for day use. People, they can come use the state park. It's going to cut down on parking problems. It will cut down on congestion and just make it a better experience for everybody who visits," said Walton County TDC Director of Communications David Demarest.

    This is the third year the county has covered fees at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and the first year for Grayton Beach State Park.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2017
  2. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    If I recall, someone spoke at a recent BCC Meeting (I believe he is a Park Employee, but did not represent himself as such) about concern over parking at the Grayton Location...
     
  3. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    from wzep ...

    hmmm ... very large increase to the budget for the summer. This makes me wonder when the $50k was used up and how long a period is another $35k needed to cover fees "until the end of the summer"?

    I suppose maybe the original $50k was just a gross underestimate of the amount of people visiting our parks for free.
     
  4. UofL

    UofL Beach Fanatic

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    Thank you. Enjoyed riding our bikes in both parks last June. (We put our bikes in the van. Alittle too much bike riding in the heat so we have to take our bikes sometimes.) Ellen
     
  5. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    I can assure you that the use of Topsail Park is very low. I go there about two to three time per week. I can't speak for Grayton.

    It (Topsail) is used for storing tourists boats on trailers (large cigarette boat there and a ski boat today) and their campers if the park is full...

    Remember, none of that money comes back to the individual park, it goes into the State general fund.
     
  6. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Lover

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    Maybe TDC Director should pay for the difference like a business owner would have to. Oh ya, all BCC has to do is raise taxes to cover it. If it was their personal money I bet there would not be underestimates or requests for more tax payer money.
     
  7. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

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    Because of the distance from water to parking lot, it's actually pretty miserable to get to the beach on hot days from there, even if you take the shuttle. Seems like we see more cars in the day use lot when it's cool enough to hike and bike the trails comfortably.
     
  8. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Lover

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    In the past, $25,000 covered the Topsail parking. I'm guessing that they used the same figure for Grayton. Just from riding by and observing, it doesn't appear that Topsail is getting substantially different parking than in previous years, but Grayton must be. I got the impression that the funds allocated to Grayton had reached or exceeded their max at the point that Jay Tusa asked for the additional $35,000 to cover through September 4th. Sounds like it might be more than necessary given that visitation is winding down during August, but I guess time will tell.
     
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  9. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    I believe the amount actually paid to the park service is based on the amount of park entrance fees reimbursed, although they set aside a certain amount in the budget to be available for the free entrance program. Bed tax revenues are the funding source.
     
  10. jjnole04

    jjnole04 Beach Comber

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    Its been a disaster for Grayton, the park was already operating at or near capacity in the summer last year. While the intent was to alleviate parking along 30a it did nothing of the sort, nor should the county be trying to use the parks as overflow parking while telling the BCC and citizens its so that "people can appreciate our natural areas." It degrades our natural areas and causes a strain on the parks budget, a former park manager should know this, but perhaps that is why he no longer works for the parks. They were told that $50,000 wouldn't be enough as Grayton made nearly $80,000 in day use money last year, and it wasn't, the 50k ran out about 3 weeks ago. Topsail doesn't come close on the amount of day use Grayton does. People simply don't want to ride a tram to the beach, most of the increase at Topsail has been people like John G, locals coming in on a regular basis, riding bikes, walking dogs, running, etc. Grayton is much busier in terms of day use and there wasn't much room for growth. I'm not sure what else the park can endure, free parking program, sheriff/code constantly driving on the beach, watercolor using the east end as over spill for its resort, snorkel reef off the beach (underwater museum coming soon), DEP trying to allow vendors on the beach, people walking dogs,ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Not much room any more for nesting shorebirds, turtles, or anything else non anthropogenic that has the highest claim for customary use on our beaches. These are the last areas we have that wildlife can use, rest, nest, feel safe. But these areas become smaller and smaller every year, always another reason to chip away, it never seems to go the other way. Hopefully the program will discontinued next year.
     
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  11. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

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    Before I lived here, I was not much of a preservationist. But spend any amount of time exploring not only the beaches, but the springs, the forests, the PARKS, you quickly become taken with the diverse natural beauty here. Eagles, ospreys, shore birds, bears :) and other wildlife can be seen daily. Personally, it is comparable to the feeling when you visit Zion, Yosemite, Glacier National Parks. This place is unique.

    I really think the time is now to organize, start meeting up, sharing ideas, on how to preserve what is still here.
     
  12. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    Nice post. In the past, before rampant development, it was easier to defend. There was a higher percentage of people here who loved the natural environment and spent time and effort protecting it. For a couple of decades now many people have moved here chasing dollars. Even some people who moved here for the beach have been seduced by money.

    Sadly I suppose this is not a new story in human history.
     

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