Land Purchased for Deepwater Horizon Settlement-Funded Parks

The Trust for Public Land announced that they have completed the purchase of properties in the Cities of Destin and Lynn Haven, Fla., which will become new coastal parks. The acquisitions are for two of four new coastal Panhandle parks being funded through the $34.4 million Florida Coastal Access Project, as approved by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) along with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees. The Trust for Public Land, working independently of DEP, was instrumental in acquiring four properties across the panhandle for new parks using early restoration funds from the Deepwater Horizon settlement.

Leonard Destin Park is located in the City of Destin, Okaloosa County, Florida. The new park will be on 3.42 acres along Choctawhatchee Bay, and proposed features include beach access, a boardwalk and deck with kayak launch, improvements to the existing dock, interpretive elements such as an historical seine boat and signage, public art, a playground, a splash pad, a restroom, and a gravel parking area. The park would honor Leonard Destin, the original settler of the City of Destin, in the mid-19th century, who built his home on the property.

Lynn Haven Bayou Preserve & Park in the City of Lynn Haven, Bay County, Florida will include the purchase of 98-acres and a new park on the property, along North Bay and McKitchen's Bayou. Proposed park features would include an access road and bridge, large gathering structures, outdoor classroom, a two-story screened-in bay and bayou overlook, picnic pavilions, dock access for kayaks and fishing, natural playground, beach areas, fitness loop, disc golf course, multi-use trails, bayou boardwalk, and wildlife viewing areas.

“Creating four new parks in Panhandle communities will improve public access to Gulf coast waterways, improve recreation in those towns and cities, and support tourism to the coast for generations to come,” said Douglas Hattaway, senior project manager with The Trust for Public Land. “We are proud to be part of this historic plan for creating new parks and access to Gulf coast waterways.”

This project is in the Phase V Early Restoration Plan, which incorporates public comments that were received on the draft plan released last year. The other two parks are in Franklin and Escambia counties.