Did you see smoke in Santa Rosa Beach on December 30, 2016? That’s because there was a Prescribed Fire at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. The weather conditions have to be just right in order for a Prescribed Fire to safely occur and on this day they were perfect. Between 8am and 3pm five Park Rangers with the Florida State Parks, two of which were from Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, executed a Prescribed Fire and maintained the burn until it was no longer.
While it may seem odd to deliberately start a fire in a forest, a Prescribed Fire is actually an effective tool in the preventative management of wildfires as well as the promotion of healthy growth in trees and is carefully planned out long in advance. They help thin overcrowded forests, reduce hazardous fuels and minimize the amount of extreme fires that occur. Prescribed fires also reduce the spread of pest insects, remove unwanted species that threaten native species, improve habitats for threatened and endangered species and recycle nutrients back to the soil.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has over 1600 acres and includes rare coastal dune lakes, old-growth longleaf pine forests, wetlands and 3.2 miles of white sandy beaches. For more information about the wide variety of programs, activities and events going on in the park please call the ranger station at (850)267-8330 or visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Topsail-Hill. You can also interact with the Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park on Facebook
or visit www.topsailparkfriends.org.
The Annual General Membership meeting for the Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is January 14, 2017 at 11am. The meeting will be in the Clubhouse in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. We hope you'll come catch up with your fellow FOTHPSP members, learn about all our organization has done in the past year to support the park as well as what it plans to do in the upcoming year. This year is also important because it is an election year and we are revising our bylaws. So we hope to see you there!
Not a member of our organization? You are still welcome to come and learn more about us.
Members were sent all the information digitally starting in November and have started receiving packets this week. In the packet are voting slips for members to send in if they can not attend the meeting. All voting slips need to be received by the evening of January 13th in order for us to have time to remove them from the envelopes and have them ready to be counted at the meeting.
If you have any questions about the meeting, elections, bylaws, our budget or the organization in general please don't hesitate to ask. We can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/FriendsofTopsailHillPreserveStatePark (look for logo.)
Join Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for a Living Bear Wise program on January 2, 2017 from 10:00a.m. - 11:00a.m. Come learn about the Florida Black Bears that call the park home. Black Bears are the largest land mammal here in Florida as well as being a protected species. While you may not see them in the park during your visit you can definitely see evidence of their presence, especially if you walk along the Turpentine Trail.
Please check in at the Ranger Station for starting location. Program is free with regular park admission.
Enjoy the first day of the new year exploring the north side of the Turtpentine Trail with a Ranger. Check in at the Ranger Station for starting location. Wear weather appropriate clothing and closed toed shoes. Bring water bottle, hat and sunscreen. Program is free with regular park admission.
Please note the Turpentine Trail is relatively flat but there are roots, rock and dirt on this trail. It is approximately a two mile round trip hike with stops along the way to learn the park, its wildlife, and the turpentine industry that thrived here in the late 1800’s.