City of Lynn Haven Acquires Nearly 100 Acres for new Park and Preserve

June 29, 2021
LYNN HAVEN, Fla.

Today, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), The Trust for Public Land and the City of Lynn Haven announce the opening of the new Lynn Haven Bayou Park & Preserve. The 98-acre property, located about 10 miles from Panama City, will be owned and maintained by the City of Lynn Haven. 

“We are proud the Lynn Haven Bayou Park & Preserve is now open to the community,” said Doug Hattaway, senior Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land. “Between the economic impacts from Deepwater Horizon and the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Michael, the people of Lynn Haven deserve a place where they can come together, recreate and experience the restorative benefits of nature.” 

The park features an outdoor classroom and playground for kids including a Panama City Crayfish climbing structure, several waterfront picnic pavilions, a fitness loop, disc golf course, and hiking trails. Kayakers, boaters, anglers, and paddle boarders can take off from the new boat launch and mooring dock or toss a line from one of several small docks to explore North Bay and McKithen’s Bayou.  

“The city has awaited a very long time for this park to come fruition,” said Vickie Gainer, City Manager for the City of Lynn Haven. “It’s a one-of-a-kind park in Bay County that offers a pristine and beautiful environment for families, individuals, organizations and school groups to interact and experience the beauty and growth of Lynn Haven.” 

The park was funded by Early Restoration Natural Resource Damage Assessment fees and penalties from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that affected the region in 2010, the largest environmental disaster and settlement in United States history. 

As part of the settlement, The Trust for Public Land has helped build or expand waterfront parks in six communities in western Florida, with the Lynn Haven Bayou Park & Preserve being the largest and final project to be completed. 

The Trust for Public Land partnered with FDEP to invest over $15 million of these Early Restoration funds to purchase the land and construct the park. Additionally, FDEP and the City have entered into a 10-year operations and maintenance agreement for another $3.5M. 

“DEP is pleased to partner with The Trust for Public Lands and the City of Lynn Haven to provide residents and visitors of this region additional outdoor recreational opportunities,” said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “Especially in the wake of a disaster like Deepwater Horizon, it is important to restore the natural resources that are the foundation of the economy and way of life of this community.” 

In 2018, with residents still recovering from the Deepwater Horizon spill, Hurricane Michael was the first storm to make landfall in the United States as a Category 5 hurricane since Andrew in 1992. The storm claimed 16 lives and caused billions of dollars in damage, including destroying 85 percent of Lynn Haven’s homes and 50 percent of its businesses. The new park and preserve offers the community an oasis where they can gather together to enjoy nature and each other. 

About The Trust for Public Land 

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live near a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org

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