County Wants State Park Land at Topsail for Beach Access

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

  1. momof2kids

    momof2kids Beach Fanatic

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    Just posted on FB that when my kids went to Butler there was a walking field trip every spring to Topsail. I can't remember what grade it was but maybe 4th or 5th grade. It was a nice walk, although hot, and the kids did learn something & had fun. Not sure if that has changed in recent years.
     
  2. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    Yes, it has changed
     
  3. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    Attached is the proposal for the Cypress Dunes Beach Access.

    I'd like to note that most school districts would require the kids to get on a bus to go to this access for liability reasons.

    Also, no where in anything I have found has the School Board or Superintendent been asked if people would be allowed to use their parking lot. That's an added liability and should probably be reviewed by the School Board's attorney. I can't wait to see the tourists here for spring break trying to park at Butler. Should be a pretty good show.
     

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  4. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    Two questions:

    1. Who thinks we have enough walkovers?
    2. If you think we need more, what solutions do you propose?
    It is much easier to poke holes in proposals than it is to be part of the solution.
     
  5. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    The buses for liability excuse doesn't fly. They walk almost as much to tour E O Wilson
     
  6. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    How is it that everything in Walton County that smells like a dog pile is some how drawing a connection to the School District?
     
  7. Seaducer

    Seaducer Banned

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    this has nothing to do with the school board other than you trying to find a paper-thin, specious reason to drag them into it, simply borrowing a school parking lot for summer parking isn't whatever conspiracy you are trying to piece together.

    This is about increasing access to the beach on the west end of 30A, something there's a distinct lack of right now, and faux "environmentalists" like Ms. Cobena who is happy to move here so long as nobody else follows her. and her trying to tell people miles away from her where they may or may not go. It's more about control than conservation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  8. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I really would like more information. There doesn't seem to be much at this point. Next week's meeting will tell the story, I suppose. I do like increased access to our extraordinary parks, IF the plan makes sense, and IF that access is made available to the general public, not just a neighborhood.

    My gut tells me though it needs to remain a preserved beach in the care of the state park system.

    I thank Celeste Cobena for her long time environmental preservation efforts in South Walton. She's made a real difference for all of us.
     
  9. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    The state park is available to all that PAY the entry fee...

    Don't need a sky-way, walk way to cater to tourists and weddings.

    1000 ft+ walk way at almost $1mil is crazy.

    Don't we have a problem with parking?

    Why add to it?

    As for the Butler school issue it is important. Do we now turn school lots I to overflow parking instead of addressing the real issues?

    Leave State Parks ALONE.

    Thanks.
     
  10. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    1. No one
    2. I would propose looking at existing accesses to see how they can be expanded to add parking and bathroom facilities.

    Which lot do you own in Cypress Dunes?

    Wow, I had no idea that children were made to walk over the 331 bridge. Reread my original post.
     
  11. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    Local, I clearly stated in earlier posts that I do not own property in Cypress Dunes or anywhere else along 30a. I also stated that I have no business or financial interest in the walkway. I resent your implication that because I do not agree with your efforts to keep everything the way it always has been, I must only be arguing the point for my own financial self-interest. Since you have insulted me, other than being a curmudgeon, what is your motivation?
     
  12. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    http://fl.audubonaction.org



    Next Wednesday, July 30, the Walton County Commission will hold a public hearing on several proposed beach accesses, including one proposal that would damage Walton’s crown jewel, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.
    Despite the fact that Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has a large public parking area which never reaches capacity and provides a convenient tram shuttle to the beach, private homeowners have requested the county build a new boardwalk access through the park to the beach, to provide their neighborhoods with direct access.

    No parking would be provided within the gated community for the public to use this beach access, but the public would theoretically be able to use this access by parking at an as yet unspecified location on CR 30-A and biking or walking along a county easement through the neighborhood to reach the trailhead.



    Most of the general public will likely find it easier to use the existing main park entrance; while this is billed as a tourist development opportunity, in reality, this boardwalk will be a private access for a gated community at the expense of taxpayers and the preserve’s natural resources.



    Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is named for its high, picturesque dunes, which rise like white sails against the blue-green Gulf waters. The preserve includes three miles of undeveloped white quartz-sand beaches, three dune lakes, and a vast mosaic of coastal habitats; it is a virtual island of habitat for rare and imperiled species in this otherwise heavily developed coastline.


    The Florida Park Service has gone to tremendous effort to protect the integrity of this special place and its significant habitats; public access to this jewel is currently provided via a parking area set back from the beach, with a free tram to convey visitors from their cars to the beach.


    This existing park entrance is 3/4 mile from the entrance to the subdivisions requesting their own boardwalk.



    When approached with this proposal, the Park Service completed an evaluation, detailing the significant impacts it would pose to imperiled species and their habitats. You can view that document by clicking here.


    Additionally, this access would be unstaffed, so access to the park would be unrestricted 24 hours a day, rather than confined to daylight hours as is the current practice. Management of the access, and of the additional public use to this part of the park, would come without additional funding to support it, and unrestricted accesses often see more violations of park rules—dogs on the beach, alcohol, vandalism, and resource exploitation—that require monitoring and enforcement.



    This proposal is not in the best interest of Topsail, its wildlife or future generations. Please consider attending the public meeting on Wednesday night.



    Lend your voice to the dunes, beach mice, and shorebirds of Topsail. Ask the commissioners to abandon their request to the state to create this private beach access at the expense of taxpayers and the natural resources of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. The existing main entrance to the park provides ample, convenient, compatible access for ALL visitors to enjoy this special place.

    [h=2]Public Workshop - Public Beach Access including Topsail State Park[/h] [h=3]Wednesday, July 30[/h] 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.

    topsailhill_map_arrow.jpg
     
  13. sunspotbaby

    sunspotbaby SoWal Insider

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    I'm not sure what WaltonParent means by "yes, it has changed"... the entire Kindergarten class took a walking field trip to Topsail this past spring.
    I am vehemently opposed to this access. It makes no sense whatsoever to disturb the park with that monstrous walkover to a beach with no facilities while 3/4 of a mile down the street, you have a great beach access w/facilities. There is no access after dark so the park is under somewhat of a security blanket to protect the environment from the treacherous 'public'. I hate to even think of cleaning up the pristine beach at Topsail after July 4th. This access would really benefit no one but the residents of a gated community. And No one else.
     
  14. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    There has never been a better time to join the South Walton Community Council, the non-profit that is the leader in fighting issues that challenge our environment and way of life in South Walton. As the economy improves, our community will have to deal with more and more requests such as this one that will not be in the best interest of the community as a whole. Without the work of people like Celeste Cobena, Anita Page, and many others (and thankfully this community has many great minds who understand the importance of preservation for EVERYONE'S benefit), and groups like the SWCC, 30A would look like Scenic 98 in Destin or Front Beach Rd. in PCB.

    The SWCC mission is "To advocate on behalf of the South Walton Community for preservation, protection, and enhancement of the quality of life and the natural environment of South Walton county". Mary Konofsky is the executive director, and does a magnificent job in keeping on top of the issues and keeping the membership informed of pertinent meeting agendas and issues via emails, press releases, and social media. You can like them on FB, and membership info can be found at www.southwaltoncc.org.
     
  15. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    When we bought a house here, we actually looked in Cypress Dunes. Nice houses, but it was clear, NO beach access. In fact, at that time they were putting a positive spin on some sort of beach shuttle they would run, similar to Seacrest Beach. We wanted to be able to walk to the beach from our house, so we knew Cypress Dunes was not for us. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine moving there and then screwing around with a state park.
     
  16. Andy A

    Andy A Beach Fanatic

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    Originally I was in favor of an access in this area. Then Kurt informed us of all the reasons we should reconsider this place for a beach access. We do need more public accesses on the West end of 30A but such space for access as well as parking is limited, if not totally unavailable. A word about the environmental aspect of beach access. We should respect and protect our environment but we should also bear in mind that such respect should be carefully balanced with the usage of such by us human beings. Protection of the environment by some to the point of denying use of our planet by the human race is a ludicrous attitude to have. Protection of all our recources should be judicously maintained for the good of all species, animal, fowl and human.
     
  17. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    Let's keep in mind that the discussion before the county commission is as I understand it is a feasibility study, not approval for construction to begin. I am in favor of feasibility studies that might develop all sorts of ideas. My dream would be parking sites and fees with shuttles that take visitors to the beach. Multiple people would poke holes in this as well, I have no doubt. Usually that comes from people who have no interest in looking toward the future of SoWal.
     
  18. Seaducer

    Seaducer Banned

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    No it's not the future they care about, it's closing the door to all others behind them when they arrive and become the instant local guardians. Cobena seems fine with her own beach access at the other end of the beach, just not yours on your end. I don't own in Cypress Dunes either but the new Guardians can't fathom being for something to benefit others if it didn't exist at the moment of their arrival. So they all falsely assume we have to profit from it to be for it.
     
  19. Zebraspots

    Zebraspots Beach Fanatic

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    The issue is not about closing the door, but protecting our state parks and preservation lands from encroachment by developers.

    Attacking people does not further your cause.
     
  20. Dawn

    Dawn Beach Fanatic

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    You're barking up the wrong tree at Celeste Cobena - she's been protecting our environment for over 2 decades. She also uses an established beach access like the rest of us that has nothing to do with taking state land. Pretty obvious you have a dog in this fight if you are trying to set her up as the bad guy. Better check yourself before posting about her again. :boxing:
     

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