Camp Helen State Park 20 Year Celebration March 25

March 24, 2017 by SoWal Staff

Camp Helen State Park invites everyone to their 20-Year Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, March 25 starting at 8:30am in The Lodge and continuing until 12:30pm with presentations, walking tours and special guests such as Elam Stoltzfus - producer of Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida's Emerald Coast. 

8:30 – 9:30 am
Option 1:     Explore birds on the park’s Nature Trails with the Bay County Audubon Society - Wear comfortable shoes, binoculars provided.
Option 2:     Walking history tour

9:30 – 10:00 am
Lake Powell - A Photo Journey by Emily Ellis Lake Powell Community Alliance

10:00 – 11:30 am
Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida’s Emerald Coast - A Public Television documentary.  Awarding winning producer Elam Stoltzfus will be present to discuss the film.

11:30 am – 12:00 noon
Camp Helen State Park 20-year anniversary celebration

12:00 noon – 12:30 pm
Walking history tour

Camp Helen State Park is bordered on three sides by the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Powell, one of the largest coastal dune lakes in Florida. Coastal dune lakes are extremely rare worldwide; in the United States they occur only along the Gulf Coast. Prehistoric middens and mounds indicate that humans lived in the area more than 4,000 years ago. From 1945 until 1987, Camp Helen was a company resort for employees of an Alabama textile mill and some of the buildings are now being restored. Natural areas range from coastal dunes and salt marshes along the Gulf to freshwater wetlands and sand pine scrub along the lake. Activities include swimming, beachcombing, nature study, hiking, and both freshwater and saltwater fishing. 

Camp Helen State Park is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, just west of the Phillips Inlet Bridge on the Bay County and Walton County line. 

Follow Friends of Camp Helen State Park on Facebook for park updates and events.

Read more about Camp Helen State Park and see photo gallery at SoWal Parks | Camp Helen State Park.

Florida State Parks await your discovery! Read about parks located in and around South Walton in our feature story.

More info from the Friends of Camp Helen State Park:

The month of March marks the 20th anniversary of Camp Helen as a State Park.  From 1945 to 1987 Camp Helen was the summer resort for employees of Avondale Mills, an Alabama-based textile company.  In response to a Panama City News Herald letter to the editor from Mrs. Helen Schroeder, popular support, and hard work by the local community, the Camp Helen property was acquired by the State in 1996.

Join the Friends of Camp Helen and Park Manager Wesley Myers on Saturday, March 25th for a morning of activities.  Events will be centered in the Lodge, a national historic site log cabin style home built by the Hicks family in the 30’s.  Come when you can and stay as long as you can.  The celebration will begin at 8:30 am where Park visitors will have the option of exploring birds and native plants on the park’s Nature Trails with the Bay County Audubon Society.   Alternately, you may take a walking history tour led by the Friends of Camp Helen.  If you want to do both, the history tour will be repeated at noon.  At 9:30 am Emily Ellis from the Lake Powell Community Alliance will treat visitors to a stunning photo journey of Camp Helen.  Beginning at 10:00 am there will be a special showing of “Coastal Dune Lakes, Jewels of Florida’s Emerald Coast.”  Award-winning producer of the film Elam Stoltzfus will be present to discuss the film.  The celebration festivities begin at 11:30 am followed the second walking history tour.  All visitors are welcome to stay at the Park the rest of the day and explore.

The celebration is free, however, the park’s $4.00 per vehicle entrance fee will apply. Camp Helen State Park is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway (Highway 98), Panama City Beach, just west of the Lake Powell bridge. For more information (850) 233-5059.


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