In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico opening a hole on the seafloor that gushed an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude over 87 days. It is considered the largest maritime oil spill and environmental disaster in the United States. For its role in the disaster, BP paid a nearly $18.5 billion penalty. The Trust for Public Land partnered with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to invest over $2 million of these funds to expand and improve Salinas Park in Gulf County, Florida.
The bigger and better Salinas Park offers residents and visitors a day’s worth of fun in the Florida sun and plenty of opportunities to experience and learn about coastal habitats. An accessible elevated boardwalk lined with interpretive signage allows people of all abilities the chance to study the area’s flora and fauna as they take in the spectacular views of the St. Joseph Bay a state aquatic preserve, among the tree tops of pines, magnolias and oaks. Three new trail heads –outfitted with a bike repair station, water mister and fountain– connect to the adjacent 11-mile Loggerhead Bike Trail on Cape San Blas. A new playground structure with shaded seating provides enjoyment for children and parents alike. Finally, by popular demand, pickleball pros can now hone their skills on the park’s two new courts. This project is one of five new Florida panhandle waterfront parks The Trust for Public Land has taken on in partnership with FDEP utilizing the Deepwater Horizon funds –one way we can help turn disaster into community building.