With artists and sponsors on hand Tuesday morning, officials with the Gulf County Tourist Development Council cut the ribbon on a “Turtle Trail” Tuesday morning.
The ceremony at the Welcome Center was to officially unveil the trail, which is comprised of the first six “hatchings” posted in parks around the county.
The trail celebrates the close link between Gulf County, its residents and visitors, and the sea turtles, green, loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley, which make local waters home.
The trail also brings awareness and education about turtles and the local environment.
The turtles were fabricated by local artist Alex Henderson and Monumental Fabrication and are replicas of the turtle that will dominate the Florida Coastal Conservancy’s Sea Turtle Fountain on Marina Drive.
Artists Kristen Gerspacher, Mary Lamb-Hess, Carol Gnagey, Ryan Rish, Marjorie Schoelles and Deb Odierna worked their magic on the turtles.
The sponsoring businesses were Sand Dollar Café, Scallop Republic, Serenity Beach Rentals, Happy Cabanas, Estate Jewelry and Loan and Off the Map Expeditions.
The first six are located at the Lookout Lounge Beach Access, Salinas Park Bayside, the TDC Welcome Center, Dunes Drive Beach Access, Port St. Joe City Commons and Dead Lakes Park.
The TDC is encouraging visitors and residents alike to visit each turtle and take a photo, post the photo on Instagram if so inclined.
Those who complete the tour, and have photos with all six, will be given a free stainless steel straw courtesy of the TDC.
The goal is to continue with “hatchings” in subsequent years, extending the “Turtle Trail” to as many of the county’s 32 parks and boat ramps as possible.