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County Wants State Park Land at Topsail for Beach Access

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Truman, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Truman

    Truman Beach Fanatic

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    You are hereby notified of a Public Workshop to be held on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 6:00 PM or soon thereafter, to present and discuss proposed new beach accesses including one at Topsail State Park.
    The meeting will be held at the South Walton Courthouse Annex located at 31 Coastal Centre Blvd., Santa Rosa Beach, FL.

    Please be advised two or more Commissioners may attend this meeting.

    Please be governed accordingly.

    At your service,

    Louis E. Svehla
    Public Information Manager
    Walton Board of County Commissioners

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Let's leave the State parks alone!
     
  2. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    No! This is the most asinine thing the county has come up with in a while.
     
  3. SkinShark

    SkinShark Beach Lover

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    Why are we even discussing this? Let's use the money being spent on talking about it on our schools. Waste of time. Leave our beautiful parks alone!
     
  4. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Totally different entity that is doing this. School Board deals with schools and taxes to pay for it. This is the Board of County Commissioners
     
  5. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    Topsail and the state EPA have given blessing to the walkover. It will be paid for with TDC money, not county funds. The western end of 30a has dangerous traffic and parking issues because we don't have enough access points to our beaches. Why does everyone immediately assume that a walkover will lead to Armageddon without stating facts, but only histrionics?
     
  6. Truman

    Truman Beach Fanatic

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    Inside word is that EPA doesn't like it. Fortunately most of us want to protect our public lands. The TDC has no business on state property.

    Topsail has lots of parking and great facilities.

    Dangerous traffic? Histrionics? What are you talking about?
     
  7. m1a1mg

    m1a1mg Beach Fanatic

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    The Dune Allen Beach Access is an accident waiting to happen. I always drive very slowly by there. Had a woman with a small child walk out from between cars a few days ago right into traffic. Had I been doing 35, it would have been very bad.
     
  8. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    Inside word? What are you talking about? Do tell. Sounds like juicy gossip from someone "in the know".
     
  9. rblessed1031

    rblessed1031 Beach Lover

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    I am curious as to who at the EPA or the park has given their blessing for this? I think they are pretty protective of the ecosystem that is onsite and am not sure that they would be giving their blessing to anything without a thorough investigation.

    The park does have plenty of parking and would venture to guess that they would be willing to work with the TDC or any other entity in order to accommodate day use visitors. I think that should be a solution investigated before money is spent on a walkover. Makes me wonder if there aren't a group of homeowners who would benefit financially if there was a walkover that connected to their subdivision and if that may or may not be the driving factor behind this?
     
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  10. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    There are a lot of problems with this plan, including that the access would be in Beachview Heights, which has private roads. So there basically would be an access through state park land with crappy to no parking options, and would really only benefit the people in Beachview Heights, and oh yeah, Cypress Dunes, which is next door. I suppose if you live in Cypress Dunes, this would be great news- the TDC will be building a beach access for you and boom! Up go your property values! Sets a bad precedent.

    This is a bad option for the environment and our community. There are other options that need a closer look.
     
  11. rblessed1031

    rblessed1031 Beach Lover

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    Not to mention that this is across from Butler Elementary School which already has traffic issues. Granted the school would only be effected during the busy months. The school year has been changed and the kids will be going to school into June - so this would really create traffic issues in that area.
     
  12. Truman

    Truman Beach Fanatic

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    Bingo.

    As to the first part - the state prk is open to all. It's what they do. They protect property so we can all go use it. No need for the TDC to be involved.
     
  13. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    Apparently the plan would utilize the parking at Butler during the summer months. Regardless though it's a bad idea.

    For those that are behind this that might be lurking: Did you know that you will ultimately be on state park land? Did you know that the rules of use are different from county beaches?
     
  14. NotDeadYet

    NotDeadYet Beach Fanatic

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    The boardwalk will be over 300 ft longer than the Deer Lake State Park boardwalk, not including the trek from somewhere in Cypress Dunes or from Butler across the street. And you will need to carry everything you want along with you. I really don't think people have thought this through. The Cypress Dunes people are behind it, but I would be surprised if it even got that much use, assuming it can't be stopped, which it should be. They will soon get tired of dragging their hot, tired small kids and umbrellas and chairs and coolers all that distance. Maybe they think they can just zip on down on their bikes any time, but bikes are not allowed on the Deer Lake boardwalk, why would they be here?
     
  15. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Leslie Kolovich on SUP Radio/Standing Up for the Planet speaks with Celeste Cobena, local environmental activitist, about the proposed beach access at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Celeste provides background on conservation lands in Walton County, with a focus on Topsail Hill Preserve State Park's history. Celeste discusses the importance of parks, forests and habitat in South Walton. Listen up... good background info on Leslie's show!

    TOPSAIL HILL PRESERVE STATE PARK NEEDS COMMUNITY VOICES-SUP RADIO



    Standing Up for the Planet with Leslie Kolovich
    Enjoy the Podcast now:
    http://www.supradioshow.com/2014/07/topsail-hill-preserve-state-park-community-voices-sup-radio/

    Today I speak with Celeste Cobena a longtime environmental activist in the South Walton County area. Her message is to inform the community of South Walton and anyone who cares about preserving our State Parks about a proposal to put a 1650 foot boardwalk for beach access in the middle of the eastern portion of Topsail Preserve State Park. There is a public hearing July 30, 2014 at 6:00pm at the South Walton Annex on highway 331.

    Topsail Preserve is one of Florida’s last pristine beaches untouched by development and home to 2 of the 15 rare coastal dune lakes in Walton County. Celeste provides history of Topsail Preserve and explains what she understands the proposal to be. The main message is we must stand up for our State Parks and conservation lands. If we don’t, the jewels we all love the most will be gone. Education is key, and understanding the importance of our ecosystems and natural habitats one begins to understand preserving land actually benefits our very existence.


    Please let your voice be heard Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Topsail Preserve State Park is more than just a jewel to the state of Florida, it should be a National Treasure!

    [​IMG]
     
  16. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    Everyone gets to have opinions, but facts help also.
    1. Very few (7) of the beach accesses have bathrooms and/or parking. The vast majority do not. The TopSail walkover is not out of the ordinary in that regard.
    2. TopSail's Unit Management Plan, in place for some time, calls for a second elevated beach walkover.
    3. TopSail has closed a beach access point that was accessible from 98. The new walkover would not be an additional walkover, it would be a replacement walkover.
    4. The close proximity of the walkover to Van R. Butler Elementary school would allow the kids to take "free" field trips (yes it is close enough to walk to) and further TopSail's mission of providing environmental education.
    5. The proposed walkover should not pose an environmental risk as the plan is to build it directly over an existing trail. Overhead pictures of TopSail clearly show the trail that would be used.

    Lastly, I am not a homeowner in Cypress Dunes or any of the surrounding areas. I am also not a contractor nor do I stand to benefit financially from the outcome. I am, however, a parent of a child at Butler Elementary. I also like the fact that in this instance TDC money can be used to benefit both tourists, locals and school children.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2014
  17. NotDeadYet

    NotDeadYet Beach Fanatic

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    The only reason there is an 'existing trail' there is because for years people have been cutting holes in the fence and illegally entering the Preserve.
    There were sound reasons for closing the old access from 98, which was not put in place by the Topsail management, they inherited it and it was sited without regard to water runoff and other issues.
    This will be long, hot walk in the summer. It's one thing to take a long hike from a parking lot with restrooms and another to do so carrying all your gear and your small kids.
    Butler can arrange a guided field trip to Topsail with an educated ranger any time they wish.
     
  18. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    I did not suggest that the reasons for closing the other entrance were not valid. I did, however, state that TWO walkovers are part of Topsail's unit management plan. Now there is only one. If the walkover in question meets the needs that Topsail has expressed and benefits the community, I do not see what the problem is.

    Do you have kids at Butler? You are correct they can arrange a guided field trip, however, they would have to be put on buses to go to the current Topsail entrance. With current budgetary constraints, the kids are lucky to get one field trip per year using a bus.

    I am not as concerned about the long walk. If you go to the beach at Fort Panic on a busy summer day, it is a long, dangerous walk from where you have to park your car to the beach access and the bathrooms. Besides, the kids use the ocean for that anyway. :lolabove:
     
  19. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    I remember always asking for beach field trips, and was told it was a liability- logistics of taking a large group of kids and all that. Also, field trips are always planned out in advance and have to have school board approval, so I doubt there would be any spontaneous trips to the beach. Sad, but true.
     
  20. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I wonder what the park specialists/rangers at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park think about this plan? They know the land so well...
     

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