Addition to Salinas Park is Purchased

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Addition to Salinas Park is Purchased

~Waterfront park on Cape San Blas is the fifth planned park in Panhandle to be created using Deepwater Horizon funds~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and The Trust for Public Land today announced that The Trust for Public Land has purchased the land for the next public park enhancement project on Cape San Blas in Gulf County. The land, for which is planned several new park features, is the fifth park project in the Florida Panhandle as part of the Florida Coastal Access Project and using Phase V Early Restoration Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) funding from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Florida Coastal Access Project will enhance public access to the Gulf Coast and its coastal natural resources and increase recreational opportunities for all Panhandle residents. DEP is partnering with The Trust for Public Land; Gulf, Escambia and Franklin counties; and the cities of Lynn Haven and Destin to create the five parks.

Construction on a park in Franklin County is already underway, with those in Escambia County and Destin to commence shortly. DEP and TPL anticipate that the construction at the Salinas Park addition will commence later in 2018.

Total NRDA Phase V Restoration Funding for the Florida Coastal Access Project five parks is approximately $45 million, including $3.2 million for the improvement of Salinas Park Addition. For the other four projects, The Trust for Public Land used NRDA Phase V monies for park property acquisition and/or park amenities such as parking and restroom facilities, boardwalks, trails and paddle-craft launches, including at the Salinas Park addition.

Once completed, all five improved parks will be donated to the respective local government. Agreements between DEP and the receiving local government include funding to cover 10-year budgets for operation and maintenance of each park.

“DEP is proud to partner with the Trust for Public Land and Gulf County on the Salinas Park Addition Project,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein. “This project will protect and greatly enhance the public’s access and enjoyment of this area’s renowned coastal resources.”

“Gulf County has been concerned about providing public access to our bays and beaches, and NRDA’s Florida Coastal Access project provided money to acquire over 7 acres of St Joe Bay frontage and develop a park,” stated Phil McCroan, Gulf County commissioner. “This strategic acquisition will guarantee Gulf County residents and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy some of the best Gulf County has to offer.”

The Salinas Park Addition will add seven natural acres with nearly 1,000 feet fronting the St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve, to the existing adjacent Salinas Park. Planned park amenities on the property include a tree-top boardwalk with platforms for viewing both the bay and Gulf of Mexico, trailhead rest stops serving the adjacent 8- mile paved Loggerhead Run Bike Path and a nature path connection to the adjacent park. Moreover, NRDA funding will upgrade the existing bayside playground and two pickleball courts to be constructed on the Gulf side of the existing Salinas Park property. Education kiosks will inform visitors of the natural and cultural resources found on the property.

“We are thrilled to be a part of conserving this pristine tract of land for the public benefit,” said Johnny T. Patronis, who sold the tract. “Our family has lived in this area for generations, and we’re glad this property will be enjoyed by generations to come."

“This additional property has been fallow for decades and offers a beautiful mix of mature palms, magnolias and oaks within which the elevated boardwalk will provide the visitor unparalleled views of both the Bay and Gulf,” said Trust for Public Land senior project manager Doug Hattaway. “We’re grateful for the vision and partnership of DEP and Gulf County leaders and citizen advocates, without whom this inspirational community park could not be created.”

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit