Take a guided tour of south Walton’s coastal dune lakes Oct. 16

September 25, 2014

greategretwesternlakeHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: Brooke Saari, UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This educational tour will introduce participants to the Jewels of 30A – the coastal dune lakes of Walton County, Florida. Coastal dune lakes are extremely rare ecosystems, which exist in just a few places around the world. They are primarily freshwater systems that sit along the coastline. But here in South Walton, the lakes periodically break through the beach and connect to the Gulf of Mexico. A saltwater exchange occurs, which supports an incredible biological community.

The tour of the coastal dune lakes will follow Scenic Highway 30A. We will make several stops along the way, visiting three to five coastal dune lakes. We will explore the unique character of the different lakes as we discuss ecology, water quality, and human impacts. We will enjoy photographic vistas, take a short hike within the dune system, and stop for a picnic lunch in one of the local state parks.

Participants should plan for easy to moderate short hiking, getting in and out of vans and/or bus, and being outside in the sunny and possibly windy conditions associated with coastal areas. Bring a camera and /or binoculars if you like. We suggest a hat, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, and layered weather-appropriate clothing, including rain gear if needed. Tours will go on, rain or shine; stops may be adjusted according to weather conditions to suit the comfort of the participants. Lunch will be provided.

Space is limited to 30 participants. Minimum of 5 required.

Location: Meet at South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. Participants will ride as a group in a van to all of the stops.

Fee: $45. Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.