Walton bay, river and shoreline fishing report for April 23

pompanoFishing is good

Choctawhatchee Bay: Folks reeling in some large speckled trout, one report of a 33 in. trout reeled in near the 331 bridge. A few redfish, mostly too big to keep.

Shoreline: Great reports of good size pompano being caught.

River: Water is still high, however a few bass being caught near the mouth of the river.

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

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Take a nature walk with a ranger at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 25

bluebirds2Time: 3 – 4 p.m.

Come shake off the winter cobwebs and get outside for this nature hike on Fri., April 25. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Rangers will lead you through the various ecosystems that make this park unique. Spring is a wonderful time to be in our forest, migrating birds, flowers, and animals can all be readily found. The hike will leave from Tram Stop 1 in the day use parking area.

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::

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May Day Festival in DeFuniak Springs May 10

maydayfestThe Annual May Day Festival will be held on May 10, 2014 at the Wee Care Park, 552 Walton Road, DeFuniak Springs from 10 a .m. – 6 p.m.

Opening ceremonies will start at 10 a.m. The festival will include various food and craft vendors, a car show by The Chautauqua Cruisers, BBQ cook-off, various entertainment, face painting,  stiltwalker, Iron Man, bounce houses, baseball tournament, pony rides, reptiles, rock climb, zumba and New Heights Wrestling.

Also representing our festival this year will be a Miss May Day Queen competition. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy a day filled with fun and fellowship. Free.

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Community arts and music festival at South Walton High School May 18

communityartsandmusicTime: 2 – 5 p.m.

Celebrate arts in education. Rosemary Beach Foundation (in collaboration with Florida State University College of Music and Walton County School District) presents Music in Pictures community festival. The event is FREE and open to the public.

Event schedule:
2 – 3:45 p.m. Express yourself! at the painting area – Create artwork while listening to the same music that inspired the students’ works
Artwork screening – Enjoy a slide show of paintings inspired by classical compositions, created by 300 K-12 students from 17 Walton County schools.
Experience instruments! – Florida State University graduate students will showcase the different instruments of the orchestra by giving short performances
Musical petting zoo – You are invited to try out several instruments, and experience the vibration and sound firsthand!
4 – 5 p.m. Awards Ceremony and Chamber music concert “Americana” featuring
Deborah Bish (Clarinet) Jihye Chang (Piano)
Gregory Sauer (Cello) Benjamin Sung (Violin)

Funded by Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Wells Fargo, St. Joe Community Foundation, The Hidden Lantern Bookstore, Robert and Daryl Davis, Bill and Winky Dowdle

Hosted by South Walton High School

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Biophilia in Bloom May 3

biophiliagardenIt’s all about gardening on May 3rd at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center. From 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. enjoy a day of make and take arts and crafts, interactive garden activities, farm to table cooking demonstration with Roux 30A, floral arranging for all ages, beekeeping, butterfly walk, worm bin composting, and garden tips. You will also have the opportunity to learn how to build a rain barrel.

Admission is adults $8, children $5, 2 and under free.

4956 State Hwy 20 East
Freeport, Florida 32439

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Potential beach access at west end of CR-30A discussed at TDC committee meeting

TDC seeks Topsail Hill Preserve State Park land for beach access/bicycle parking.

TDC seeks Topsail Hill Preserve State Park land for beach access/bicycle parking.

TDC seeks Topsail Hill Preserve State Park land

DeFuniak Springs Herald

Discussion of a possible new public beach access across the southeastern portion of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park drew the attention of community members at a meeting of the Walton County Tourist Development Council’s (TDC) Destination Improvement Committee.

The committee met on April 9 at the TDC office.

Brian Kellenberger, newly-hired TDC director of beach operations, explained that the access would primarily serve several nearby neighborhoods and that preliminary meetings had been held with representatives of the state park system regarding the access.

Written information provided to the committee stated that the concept “included creation of a new pedestrian entrance and trailhead near the park’s southeast corner and construction of a boardwalk from that point to the park’s beach.”

It was also stated, “Access to the trailhead would be provided via a county easement across the streets and alleyways of the Beachview Heights subdivision. Specifically, access to the trailhead would likely occur along Tanglewood Drive and Sandstone Street.” It was noted that entrance to the park would be restricted to pedestrians only, who would be required to deposit the park entrance fee in an honor box.

Approximate area of proposed boardwalk access within Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Approximate area of proposed boardwalk access within Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Kellenberger told the group that the state park system representatives had indicated that the system was low on funds for projects of this type and that, in order for the access to be prioritized, an alternate funding source would likely be required. This led to discussion of “the idea of cost sharing” between the park system, the TDC, and some community organizations, Kellenberger reported.

He added that the boardwalk under discussion would be an elevated one.

It was discussed that there is an existing trail at the location of the proposed boardwalk, although there is currently a fence across the trail.

The committee and attendees discussed that rules for use of the boardwalk would be different from those for other public accesses since it would be contained in the state park. The written material indicated that a “no pets policy” for the boardwalk area might be considered in order to prevent negative impacts on “imperiled beach mice and shorebirds” in the area.

A resident of one of the neighborhoods in the vicinity of the potential boardwalk spoke strongly in favor of it being pursued.

Calling the access “very much needed,” he spoke of congestion and parking problems at other public beach accesses along the west end of CR-30A. The resident predicted that congestion would not be a problem at the new proposed access because there would be no parking associated with it.

“The beach is too beautiful not to be shared by everyone,” the resident concluded.

Jim Bagby, TDC executive director, clarified that there would be parking racks for bicycles at the access but not for cars.

Upcoming meeting:
Parking needs assessment workshop April 23
Walton County will hold a public workshop on Wednesday, April 23rd at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort’s LeCiel Room. The workshop will be held from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The recent parking study conducted by AVCON for Walton County will be shared with the public at this meeting. One or more county commissioners may be present at this workshop.

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Head out on horseback with Sunshine Riding Trails to the Econfina Wildlife Management Area

Sunshine Riding Trails offers a day of equestrian fun. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Sunshine Riding Trails offers a day of equestrian fun. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Interested in taking a guided horse trail ride through Northwest Florida’s beautiful Econfina Wildlife Management Area? Head on over to the Sunshine Riding Trails, the great folks there will saddle you up for a day of enjoyable riding.

Owned by Kathy and David Rich, Sunshine Riding Trails offers Tennessee Walkers and Paso Finos for most every age and skill level. They offer 1 2, 3, or 4-hour rides along the area’s beautiful equestrian trails. A day of sightseeing is in store as you meander through long leaf pine restoration areas, ponds, small creeks, and moss covered forests.

This young gal is ready to head out. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

This young gal is ready to head out. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Riders will receive a bit of training before the ride to ensure you will be comfortable handling your horse. Be prepared to spoil your ride, as a pouch of carrots will be supplied keep your steed happy.

Learn more at: http://sunshineridingtrails.com

Hours:  Mon–Sat

Trail Ride rates:
1 hour: $35.00
2 hour: $50.00
3 hour: $75.00
4 hour: $100.00  (includes lunch)
Overnight camping trips: $175.00 per person

Rates are per person adult or child

Call for reservations at: Toll Free: (888) 335-8530 or  (850) 773-1900
2273 Rolling Pines Road
Chipley, FL 32428-3658

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Santa Rosa Beach resident enjoys beautiful luna moth visitors

Sherry McCall captured this photo of a luna moth on her workshop wall.

Sherry McCall captured this photo of a luna moth on her workshop wall.

Santa Rosa Beach resident Sherry McCall enjoyed a few unusual visitors to her workshop this week. Early on in the week, McCall was treated to a luna moth that took up residence on the exterior of her workshop wall. Then, over the next few days two more moths appeared.

On Thursday, McCall spotted two of the luna moths gracefully in union on the wall. Then, as the moths magically appeared, they disappeared into the night.

Luna moth union on the wall. Photo courtesy Sherry McCall.

Luna moth union on the wall. Photo courtesy Sherry McCall.

However, the magical moments are not over for McCall, as the female left eggs deposited on her door. She will witness the cycle of metamorphosis, as the eggs will transform into caterpillars, then cocoons, and then another moth.

About luna moths:
Common Name: Luna moth
Scientific Name: Actias luna (Linnaeus)
Order: Lepidoptera

Luna moth eggs. Soon there will be caterpillars. Photo courtesy Sherry McCall.

Luna moth eggs. Soon there will be caterpillars. Photo courtesy Sherry McCall.

Description: These moths are large, with a 4 to 5 inch wingspan. Wings are light green, marked with transparent spots and a pink-purple or yellow forewing margins and hind wings bearing long twisted tails. Caterpillars are translucent light green with a pale yellow horizontal line along each side and reddish-orange fleshy knobs (tubercles) on each body segment. They grow to be 2 3/4 inches long.

Life Cycle: Adults begin to emerge in the spring (March) to mate and lay oval eggs. Caterpillars develop through several molts before spinning a papery cocoon among dead leaves that usually falls to the ground. There are two generations per year.

Habitat and Food Source(s): Caterpillars have chewing mouth parts. Adults have siphoning mouths. Caterpillars feed on leaves of walnut, hickory, sweetgum, maple, oak, persimmon, willow and other trees. Adults can be attracted to lights, or males can be attracted to an imprisoned female. All colors will fade in preserved specimens when exposed to light.

Pest Status: “Moon” moths are active at night and are harmless, caterpillars feed on tree leaves but are rarely found in large numbers; medically harmless.

Management: None, harmless.

Information courtesy https://insects.tamu.edu

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DeFuniak Springs community garden in the works

Photo courtesy Kevin Chilcutt.

Photo courtesy Kevin Chilcutt.

What was an on and off community garden over the last few years is now on again thanks to DeFuniak Springs residents Kevin and Barbara Chilcutt.

Big plans are in the works according to Kevin, with plot areas now being offered to residents.

“The garden is open and free. This year we are not even charging a garden plot fee. We are running late, but did get it tilled this past weekend. I am now taking 10 by 10 (or bigger if really needed) plot requests. There will also be a large patch planted and open to anyone who wants to harvest. Even if they do not help, they can just share from whatever grows,” said Kevin.

Garden design plans courtesy Kevin Chilcutt.

Garden design plans courtesy Kevin Chilcutt.

Additional garden bed variations are also in the works including pyramid, pallet, and bucket. Future plans include a small flower and herb garden, and planting of fruit trees. They also have plans for a sitting and working area.

The City of DeFuniak Springs is providing the land and water for the garden which is located next to the downtown water tower. The Chilcutts are seeking volunteers and materials for what will be an ongoing project.

“My hope is to see people enjoy the ground and plants, feel the sunshine and smell the dirt as they also watch the plants grow and see the fresh produce. I hope there will be a lot of sharing and that the garden even becomes a showplace for creativity. I hope the local school kids can help with things like painting signs and feeding plants. My personal goal is to get a little exercise while working the garden. And, my 5-year-old wants pumpkins. While they are hard to grow here, we will try to have a small patch. If he finds it worthy enough maybe the Great Pumpkin will appear,” said Kevin.

If you have muscle, plants, seeds, or good ideas, give Kevin (850) 333-1852 or Barbara Chilcutt (850) 892-3119 a call.

Check for updates on the garden’s Facebook page.

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Find the Easter eggs in North and South Walton April 19 and 20

Freeport Arts and Craft Festival and Easter Egg Hunt April 19

eastergreetingOn Saturday, April 19 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. the Town Planters Society of Freeport will be hosting their annual arts and craft festival. The festival will be held in conjunction with the annual Car Show and Easter Egg Hunt.

The events will be held at the Freeport Regional Sports Complex in Hammock Bay located off of CR83A at 671 Hammock Trail East, Freeport.

There will be arts and craft vendors, food concessions, face painting, entertainment, silent auction, and door prizes. A portion of proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society / Relay for Life. For more information call Judy Aultman 850-835-1737 or email judyaultman@gmail.com

Saturday, April 19:

Cluster Springs Baptist Church – 10 a.m.
Easter basket drawing, free games, story time and more. Cluster Springs Baptist Church is located at 1333 CR1084 in DeFuniak Springs.

Alys Beach – 10 a.m. – 12 Noon
Alys, the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter cordially invite you to a tea party at Fonville Press. Mingle with the characters and decorate your very own hat. The event is free and open to the public but hats are limited to the first 150 young guests. A suggested donation of $5.00 will be accepted to benefit the Seaside Repertory Theatre. Don’t be late!

Sunday, April 20

Seaside Easter egg hunt will be held on the Lyceum Lawn next to the Seaside Neighborhood School. They will offer two separate egg hunts, one for ages 1-4 at 1 p.m. and for ages 5-10 at 1:30 p.m. Don’t miss out on the regions largest Easter Egg Hunt with over 15,000 candy filled eggs!

WaterColor Marina Park
Sunday’s festivities begin at 9 a.m. with an Easter Brunch at The LakeHouse overlooking Western Lake where the guest of honor, the Easter Bunny, will visit with the kids until 11 a.m.; so, parents can capture those special photos.

At 12:15 p.m., the Easter Bunny arrives to join the afternoon festivities in true 30-A fashion — via stand-up paddle board onto The BoatHouse dock. Yes, our Bunny paddles in… instead of hops.

From 12:30 – 2 p.m. kids of all ages can enjoy face painting and crafts. Easter egg hunts on the resort greens are separated into three groups for children 4 and under, 5 to 8-year-olds and 9+ year olds with one special egg at each of the hunts having a larger prize inside. And, the popular Egg Toss contest starts at 1:30 pm with winners of each age group getting a prize.

For more information call 866-426-2656 or visit www.stjoeclub.com .

Union Springs Missionary Baptist Church – 11 a.m.
Easter program and egg hunt starting at 11 a.m. Union Springs Missionary Baptist Church is located at 416 Rail Road Ave., DeFuniak Springs.

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