By Nancy Thomson
The beauty of St. Joseph Peninsula is like no other place on earth, laying claim to some of the whitest sand and tallest dunes in the country, it attracts many visitors every year.
However, an increase in the number of visitors and a resurgence in new construction is having an impact on the quality of a visit to the beach. Large volleyball nets and beach camps of tents, canopies, chairs, fishing gear, floats, toys, kayaks and equipment take up the limited beach front and push driving up next to the dunes. Railroad vines, a Florida native plant that stabilizes dunes and acts as a first defense, are being run over. Deep ruts are making it difficult to enjoy a walk on the beach.
Most other Florida beaches have been closed to vehicle traffic or access is limited to certain areas. Others have enacted a Leave no Trace ordinance, requiring beach users to remove all belongings by nightfall.
Isn’t it time for our county commission to take measures to protect our beaches for us and future generations?
The peninsula is a treasure that if not protected by its users but left to defend itself, will suffer irreversible damage. We must be vigilant and enact changes that will ensure the beauty of this place forever.