Walton County fishing report for Jan. 18

Fishing is good

Bay: Redfish and trout bites and with a few stripers biting.

Gulf: Flounder being gigged just off shore and a few other places.

Click here for fishing forecast

Bay and river report brought to you by Copeland’s. “Where the locals shop and the tourists are welcome.”

Click here to find out more about Copeland’s.
Copeland’s Gun and Tackle Shop
17290 U.S. Hwy. 331 S
Freeport, Florida 32439

(850) 835-4277
Store hours:
Mon. – Fri.: 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat.: 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Closed

Posted in Fishing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Explore a scenic hike between the springs on Econfina Creek

Econfina Creek overlook along the trail. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Econfina Creek Recreation Area is an outdoor enthusiast’s perfect destination. Paddling, hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting within 41,363 acres of public land managed by Northwest Florida Water Management District and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The area is chock full of exceptional spaces for families to enjoy a day exploring. One special little nature trail is nestled high on a limestone ridge between three springs on Econfina Creek. The scenic hike offers gorgeous views of the creek and area hardwood forest. Located just north of State Road 20 in Washington County, the nature trail is located between two recreation area parks – Williford Spring, and Pitt and Sylvan Springs. Technically two trails, this hike is more of a loop, totaling approximately 1.5 miles, and meanders on uneven terrain along a bluff approximately 25 ft. above the creek. A variety of hardwoods, palms, and flowering vegetation provide a shady canopy along most the path. At the beginning and at the half way mark, there is a bonus to your trek as a dip in a cool, clear spring awaits you.

Trailhead at Pitt/Sylvan Springs recreation area park.

You can choose to park at either spring location; Williford (which has two trailheads) or Pitt and Sylvan recreation areas. Both recreation areas offer restrooms, covered picnic areas, and access to the springs.

The southern trailhead at Pitt and Sylvan recreation area is located at 6315 E. Highway 20, Youngstown, FL, with a parking area near the trail head off of Strickland Road. It is located 8 miles east of SR 79 or 7 miles east of U.S. Hwy. 231.

::MAP::

The trail is rated moderate and open from dawn to dusk.

About the spring recreation areas:

Pitt and Sylvan Spring: Latitude/Longitude: 30.432718, -85.546503

Pitt Spring. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The water from Pitt Spring’s 11-foot-deep spring vent emerges from beneath a submerged limestone ledge into a 40-foot diameter pool and then flows through a 50-foot run to the creek. The 10-acre recreation area, offers boardwalk trail overlooks and a canoe/kayak launch. Swimmers can access the spring water by a stairway. Covered picnic pavilions and a composting restroom are available.

Sylvan Springs spring group is located near Pitt Spring and consists of several vents on the west side of the Creek. Pitt Spring is a day-use only site and is open from dawn to dusk.

Williford Spring: Latitude/Longitude: 30.439702, -85.547447

Williford Spring. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

A spring vent emerges from beneath a submerged limestone ledge into a 40-foot diameter pool. Maximum depth measured at the vent is 12 feet but the conduit extends further and downward. There is a large surface boil. A number of ancillary vents are scattered along the west bank.  This spring is located approximately one-half mile north of Pitt Spring.  Williford Spring is a second magnitude spring that sends more than 16 million gallons of water per day into Econfina Creek, which feeds into Deer Point Lake and is the primary source of drinking water for Panama City and Bay county.

Posted in Eco adventure, Nature, Outdoor Family Fun | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Gardening for a wildlife habitat lecture in DeFuniak Springs Feb. 1

Date/time: Wednesday, Feb. 1 – 2 p.m.

Bring more enjoyment into your garden by attracting wildlife. Birds, butterflies and small creatures will bring your yard to life. Dara Dobson, a wildflower enthusiast, master gardener and owner of 7 Pines Native Nursery, will discuss the importance of native plants and planting natives to help our declining pollinator populations. Anyone can take steps to make their property more nature friendly.

This program is hosted by the Walton County Master Gardeners and will be held on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at the UF/Walton Extension Office, 732 N 9th Street in DeFuniak Springs from 2 – 4 p.m.

The cost is $5, payable at the door, and includes materials and handouts. Light refreshments will be served.

Space is limited and reservations are required. Please contact Cheryl at 850-892-8172 or [email protected] by the Monday before the program to reserve your place.

Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions and help with soil samples. There is a $8 charge, including shipping, to submit soil samples to the University of Florida for analysis. Master Gardeners are at this location Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until noon.

Posted in Home/Garden | Tagged | Leave a comment

Learn about the Choctawhatchee beach mouse at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Feb. 9

Date/time: February 9, 3 p.m. –

Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse – Learn about this endangered species and the role it plays in the park’s ecosystem. Meets at Tram Stop #3 unless inclement weather then meets at Clubhouse.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

Posted in Outdoor Family Fun | Tagged | Leave a comment

Americana Concert Series at Camp Helen State Park Jan. 21

Date/time: Saturday, January 21, 2017 – 6:30 to 8:00 pm

Camp Helen State Park with Lucky Mud and the Friends of Camp Helen State Park present the 2017 Americana Concert series on January 21, 2017. The concert features Paul Kamm and Eleanor MacDonald.  They are modern folk musician’s who have been writing and performing original, contemporary folk music for 33 years. A blend of contemporary and traditional styles, their music is graced by exquisite harmony, compelling songwriting, deceptively simple arrangements and intricate guitar work…all embraced by great heart.

Event is free. Donations are accepted and go directly to the Friends of Camp Helen State Park to be used to benefit the parks resource management projects and interpretive programs.

Participant Requirements

All concerts are held in the Lodge at Camp Helen State Park. Seating inside the lodge is limited to 125 people. Additional seating is available outside on the porch.

Driving Directions
Camp Helen is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, FL, just west of the Phillips Inlet bridge on the Bay County and Walton county line. The entrance is south of U.S. Hwy 98. ::MAP::

More Information: [email protected] 850-233-5059

Posted in Outdoor Family Fun | Tagged | Leave a comment

Learn about wildlife at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Jan. 26

Date/time: January 26, 3 p.m.

Explore the park with a Ranger. Discover what wildlife has been there before you by identifying their tracks and scat. Meets at Tram Stop #2.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

Posted in Eco adventure, Nature | Tagged , | Leave a comment