A public hearing in Walton County, Florida regarding a proposed beach access point through the famed Topsail Hill Preserve State Park was met with passionate opposition from attendees.
Local citizens, part-time residents, business owners and others packed the South Walton County Courthouse annex building on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 – it was standing room only out into the building’s lobby. The meeting was facilitated by Jim Bagby of the South Walton Tourist Development Council (TDC), who made a brief presentation before the public comment portion began. Click here to see the TDC presentation.
By the end of the evening, over 50 people made public comment. The crowd was overwhelmingly in opposition to the proposed beach access through Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Audubon’s Jonathan Webber was in attendance and spoke to the incredible natural beauty and rare species that make Topsail so special.
Audubon and others cited many reasons for the Walton County Commission to oppose the Topsail proposal:
- Lack of Management Funds
- Lack of Guard/Monitoring
- Harm to plants and animals
- Disturbance to nesting birds
- Unnecessary (main entrance is nearby)
- Importance of maintaining natural conditions
There will be ample opportunities for the public to make their voice heard during this process, as (if) it proceeds. Last night’s hearing was just the beginning. Thank you to everyone who made their voice heard for Topsail Hill, it was an inspiring evening for conservation in Florida.