Hurricane Michael destroyed the thick forest at the east end of Salinas Park where you turn onto Cape San Blas Road. So, the Coastal Community Association sent out a questionnaire to local citizens in South Gulf County and asked what they wanted to see happen to restore Salinas.
By a huge margin, the top item citizens reported was to restore the trees and shrubs at the east end of the park. The CCA has been doing something about it!
Last January, the CCA arranged with State Representative Jason Shoaf to obtain 500 pines free from the state, and those were planted by the CCA Tree Brigade Volunteers.
But that was just a start. Janna Rinehart, a CCA Board member, took on the task of finding some hardwood varieties, and CCA purchased 91 trees: Dahoon Hollies, Sand Live Oaks, Sugarberrys, Chickasaw Plums, Persimmon, Red Maple, Fringes, Silky Dogwoods, Yaupon Holly, Southern Magnolia and Sweetbay Magnolia.
The varieties were chosen for their salt tolerance, beauty and ability to attract birds and wildlife.
The Tree Brigade helped to stage the trees on November 12 at Fire Station 1, next to the park. On Wednesday, November 16, the Gulf County Tourist Development Council Work Crew met with Reinhart and her volunteers to plant the trees. The TDC work crews will water and fertilize them until the trees are able to take care of themselves.
Check out the grove of trees as you turn on to Cape San Blas Road.
This is a great start to bringing back the heavily wooded area. Now, the CCA plans to have a fundraiser after the first of the year to plant about twice that amount of trees on the Bay side of the dune to continue the woodlands.
If you want to help on the next round with donations or planting, please let Dr. Pat Hardman, 850-229-7799, know, and she will get you hooked up with the CCA Tree Brigade.
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