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.”