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Panama City Beach, Florida park springs from hydration project

Posted by Paul Kandarian  December 23, 2011 07:18 AM

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More than 10 years ago, officials in Panama City Beach, Fla., were charged with creating a plan to rehydrate land that had been used for decades for tree farming and seen its natural water balance altered. A wastewater treatment facility went up that now pumps up to 14 million gallons of water daily through a piping system in the affected wetlands, with the result being the late-October opening of the 2,900-acre Conservation Park, which according to Dan Rowe, president and CEO of Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, "is an eco-tourist's dream."

The park has eight boardwalks totally more than one mile scattered throughout the park that provide viewing of protected wetlands and 24 miles of dirt trails, 10 of which are color-coded for varying lengths, and named "Gayle's Trails" for the city's mayor, Gayle Oberst, who Rowe said was one of the project's visionaries. Similar paths exist across Panama City Beach and the plan is to link them into a system that will stretch from Walton County to the north, and to St. Andrews State Park at the southern tip of Bay County.

For information on the park, and Panama City Beach, visit http://www.pcbgov.com/index.php

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