Beaches of South Walton TDC reminds Beach goers to “Leave No Trace” Over Memorial Day Weekend WALTON COUNTY, Fla.—(May 20, 2008)—Any personal items left on public beach walkovers and accesses overnight will be removed from the beach daily as part of the “Leave No Trace” campaign, an international program that guides outdoor enthusiasts in their decisions to reduce their impacts while enjoying recreational activities. “Leave No Trace” focuses on the concepts of beach maintenance and preservation. By ensuring that each person “leaves no trace” when enjoying the area’s beaches, waterways and natural lands, it helps protect and preserve this destination while ensuring everyone is afforded the same pristine experience. Therefore, personal items left on the beach from dusk until dawn will be discarded. “Everyone wins when the beach is maintained. Clean beaches benefit the environment and economy alike,” said Tracy Louthain, director of public relations and visitor services for Beaches of South Walton TDC. “Leaving items on the beach overnight has a number of harmful effects ranging from items being taken with the tide and becoming litter, to impacts on nesting sea turtles to spoiling the area’s scenic beauty for which we are known.” Obstructions on the beach in a nesting turtle's path are dangerous obstacles. She cannot maneuver very well on land and loses precious energy reserves needed for nesting. A turtle cannot backup. If blocked or trapped, she will need to be rescued. In addition to the environmental impacts, items left on the beach also block emergency and maintenance vehicles, which traverse the beach at night. Responsible practices not only make the area’s beaches more attractive but are a point of distinction and recognition. Blue Wave certification is issued by the Clean Beaches Council for responsible beach management practices, and Beaches of South Walton is the only destination in the nation to have all 26-miles of beaches Blue Wave certified. There are guiding principles that beach goers can adopt to ensure that they “Leave No Trace.” First, travel on durable surfaces. By staying on established trails and dune walkovers, damage to vegetation, and the erosion that occurs as a result, will be avoided. If you carry it in, carry it out. Trash, cigarette butts, waste and other items litter our natural areas. Also, remove beach chairs and umbrellas, as they create hazards when left out overnight. These items will be discarded if left on the beach overnight. For more information on the “Leave No Trace” program, please call Walton County Code Enforcement at 850-622-0000. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Edit - update 8/10/08 Yesterday I received a letter from the county with this notice on one side - http://www.partners.beachesofsouthwalton.com/LeaveNoTrace.pdf and a letter from Kevin Hargett, code enforcement on the other side. The letter is addressed to "proprty owners in Walton County". The letter introduces the new amendment to the ordinance. All is now official and final. Do Not Leave Anything On The Beach. Leave No Trace... The scenic beauty of the area can only be maintained through a commitment by the residents and visitors. By being environmental stewards and ensuring that each of us "Leave No Trace" when enjoying recreational activities along the area’s beaches, waterways and natural lands, we help to protect and preserve this destination while ensuring everyone is afforded the same pristine experience. "Leave No Trace" is an international program that guides outdoor enthusiasts in their decisions to reduce their impacts while enjoying recreational activities. To follow are some of the guiding principles that can be adopted by residents and visitors to Beaches of South Walton: • Travel on Durable Surfaces – Stay on established trails and use dune walkovers to avoid damage to vegetation, which will lead to erosion. • Dispose of Trash Properly – If you carry it in, carry it out. Trash, cigarette butts, waste and other items litter our natural areas. Beach chairs and umbrellas create hazards when left on the beach overnight. • Respect Wildlife – Observe wildlife from a distance, especially nesting sea turtles. • Be Considerate of Other Visitors – Avoid loud music or noise—let nature’s sounds prevail; If you dig holes, be sure to fill them in so others do not get injured. We hope they you will join us in the "Leave No Trace" program and leave our natural lands as pristine as when you arrived. Walton County has begun enforcing Ordinance No. 2003-07G: It shall be unlawful for beach chairs, umbrellas, tents and other such personal articles to be on the beach in such a manner that they interfere with beach maintenance, nesting turtles or emergency vehicles. Personal items left unattended on the beach from dusk to dawn will be discarded. Regional public beach accesses and public boardwalks will be cleaned daily. Other sections of the beach will be cleaned on a rotating basis. Join us in protecting the beautiful Beaches of South Walton. For more information, call Code Enforcement (850) 622-0000.