If you’re planning to spend time out on the beach this year, please don’t leave anything behind!
In accordance with Walton County’s Leave No Trace clean beaches ordinance, all personal items left on the beach in South Walton one hour after sunset will be removed before one hour after sunrise.
One major change this year is the items will no longer be stored for pick-up at Visit South Walton‘s Maintenance Facility in Santa Rosa Beach, but will be discarded.
Umbrellas, tents, chairs, coolers, volleyball nets, picnic tables and other items left on the beach overnight create hazards for nesting sea turtles, pose a safety concern and are an eyesore for residents and visitors alike.
After Memorial Day this year, Visit South Walton received feedback from visitors indicating that some local businesses may have inadvertently contributed to less-than-perfect guest experiences by failing to provide visitors with information about the Leave No Trace law.
The organization suggests local business owners provide guests with information about the program at check in and personally tell them the rules. This attention to education is critical to maintain the high level of guest satisfaction that South Walton is known for, according to Visit South Walton.
“Visit South Walton wants everyone to enjoy our pristine beaches, which is why we have the Leave No Trace requirements in place,” said Jay Tusa, the executive director of the Walton County Tourist Development Council.
“We work diligently to educate our stakeholders about the requirements and rely on them to carry the message forward to their guests so that everyone’s belongings are correctly stowed at the end of the day, leaving the beaches clear for everyone’s enjoyment.”
Visit South Walton provides educational resources such as Leave No Trace flyers, Beach Safety flyer and the Beachgoer’s Guide, outlining the Leave No Trace and sea turtle nesting laws, safety tips and more.
The flyer and guide is available at the Visitor Center located at 25777 US 331 in Santa Rosa Beach, and by request from Brook DiSalvo.