Dodge the Dunes: It’s been a priority program for Flagler County’s tourism bureau, Flagler Beach and the Flagler shore, where dunes already battered by hurricanes and storms are further damaged by people who either park by them or walk over them. For a few years, the tourism bureau has focused on a “Dodge the Dunes” campaign to encourage beachgoers to use walkovers and consciously protect dunes. It can be a trying effort, especially with tourists who don’t follow local campaigns.
That’s where continuing education comes in. And in what may be as glimmering of a silver lining as Flagler Beach could hope for, Flagler’s Tourist Development Council this morning agreed by consensus to award some or all of the $25,000 that the city did not spend on its ill-fated July 4 fireworks show back to efforts focused on the Dodge the Dunes campaign, primarily in Flagler Beach. The money could also be spent on related efforts anywhere along the 18 miles of county coastline.
The redirect was at the suggestion of Ken Bryan, who is currently serving as both the city’s commission chairman and its representative on the tourism council, which meets quarterly.
“There was a big concern with the Fourth of July approaching in the holidays of the influx of people and protecting the dunes,” Amy Lukasik, the tourism director, said. “Our county attorney said look, the best way you can help combat this as quickly as possible is through education. And so, Commissioner Bryan has been involved in those discussions with Flagler Beach. He reached out to our office saying hey, what can we do to further this program to help expand it and kind of revitalize it.”
Previously, the Dodge the Dunes campaign consisted of disseminating its message through placemats coasters in restaurants, magnets in hotels and short-term rentals and the like.
“We do have that Flagler Beach firework funding that is still available if we had to, in certain line items, dip into if it doesn’t give anyone any heartburn,” Lukasik told the council this morning. “That’s what we would like to do, is to continue to expand that education of parking, of the turtles, of the trash and work with Commissioner Bryan and the City of Flagler Beach and staff in what that best would look like.”
“We figured that since we didn’t blow it up,” Bryan said of the fireworks, the money could be put to some good use. “Amy has been very very helpful as far as helping to navigate what we can use funding for.”
Timothy Patrick Welch says
I think it’s $ 25K better spent elsewhere ? Never have I ever seen anyone trying to get to the water’s edge thru the weeded dune brush. Then there’s the fact that the dune drops steeply as much as about 8-12+ feet as a wall of sand that a tourist or anyone else can’t get down to the water. It’s really a no brainer to use the parking & access stairs.
Is there any subject that JIMBO99 is not
an expert on?
Jay Rhame says
I have different perspective. Instead of seeing the dune vegetation as weeded dune brush I view it as a complex ecosystem that survives under harsh conditions. Unfortunately, I have seen people walking through the dunes, which don’t all have an 8-12+ foot drop. Two days ago while I was standing on a walkover a middle aged couple started down the dunes right next to it. I asked them to, “Please use the walkover”. The man ignored me, continued on and said, “Whatever Dude”. I explained the reason for using the walkover to his wife who was understanding. The next day a neighbor told me of a family that used the same path next to the walkover to pull their beach cart down.
Using the money to educate the public is a good idea and wonder why FDOT isn’t more active in protecting the dunes since they protect A1A at no cost.
While we are on the subject of people using the dunes rather than walkovers I must point out that some of the new walkovers that have been recently constructed have stairs that are so steep that it is impossible to get a beach cart down them. Actually they are difficult just to walk down . I understand that the city manager looked at the newly constructed walkover opposite Clubhouse Drive and spoke of having it reworked. That was 5+ months ago. So far nothing. Maybe if it was located near the pier it would have been addressed.
Florida traffic law states that vehicles should park no more than 12 inches (1 foot) from the edge of the roadway. In many places along A1A in North Flagler Beach vehicles are parking 5 or more feet from the edge of the roadway.
The width of a parking space is normally 10 feet so as to allow the door on one side of a vehicle to be open and not obstruct passersby. In portions of North Flagler Beach the vegetation has been trampled back 18 to 20 feet from the roadway.
Citizens of Flagler beach we need to do more to protect these dunes. Once that vegetation is gone we will all be looking at marked paved parking spots, boulders, and seawalls.
Rick Belhumeur says
Thank you Amy Lukasik for always looking out for Flagler Beach, even if that takes sitting through a 5 hour City Commission meeting to keep them informed.