OKALOOSA, Fla. (March 11, 2013) – New revisions to Ordinance No. 13-07, which addresses objects left on Okaloosa County beaches – include language urging visitors to pick up any personal items they may have brought with them. Beginning March 9, 2013, the Okaloosa County Public Works Parks Division and Okaloosa County Public Safety Department will be authorized to remove any personal property on the beaches of Okaloosa Island and James Lee Park considered abandoned during the hours of 12 a.m.-7:30 a.m.
The County will patrol the beaches daily to tag items with a removal notice that will be enforced the following day if not removed. Items abandoned for a second day will be removed by Okaloosa County Public Safety Department. The revisions were necessary to address the hundreds of beach tents, canopies, cabanas, shading devices, chairs and other items of personal property overnight on the beach, especially during the summer months.
“It seems each year more and more visitors were leaving items on the beach overnight,” says Okaloosa County Public Works Director, John Hofstad. “The County had to take action to protect the sea turtles that nest each year during the peak visitor seasons as well as allow maintenance crews and beach patrols to perform their duties.”
The Public Works Parks Division, Public Safety Department, and Tourist Development Department (TDD) will communicate the ordinance revisions to visitors through beach signs, refreshed beach safety in-room informational cards, social media, and emeraldcoastfl.com. Lodging partners have already been notified of the revised ordinance and are encouraged to share the changes with their guests.
“We felt it was important to implement these new revisions to the beach ordinance in order to protect the natural assets and create an atmosphere that visitors to the Emerald Coast enjoy again and again,” says Okaloosa County TDD Executive Director, Dan O’Byrne. “We think visitors will recognize the necessity of removing their items from the beach each night so that we can continue to keep our beaches safe and beautiful.”
About Okaloosa County Tourist Development Department:
The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Department promotes Okaloosa County as a tourism destination through marketing and advertising of Okaloosa County’s beautiful Emerald Coast. The TDD oversees the operation of the Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, Emerald Coast Convention Center and Emerald Coast Film Commission, the Visitors Welcome Center and conservation efforts aimed at improving and protecting the natural environment of Okaloosa County.