Alapaha River Photograph by
© 2000 Jeff Ripple
Field Trips

Coastal Dune Lakes
(tour of Campbell and Morris Lakes)

1:00 - 3:00 p.m. This tour will begin at the entrance of Morris Lake Trail, which winds within an ancient dune system. As the trail passes through a scrub ecosystem, you will notice a recent prescribed burn along the path. We will travel to our destination, 98-acre Morris Lake, while viewing many beautiful scrub plants and wildflowers. Morris Lake is a coastal dune lake with an intermittent outflow to the ocean during heavy periods of rain. The trail has a small crossover that leads straight to a secondary dune system. From this point, we will travel back through Morris Lake Trail to Topsail Hill Road then to Campbell Lake Trail. Campbell Lake Trail will lead us through another scrub ecosystem into a pine flatwood ecosystem. Through the trail we will travel to a lookout point that has a fantastic view of the lake along with many aquatic plants and wildflowers. Campbell Lake is our biggest lake at 164 acres of freshwater. On our return trip from Campbell Lake , the last stop will be Topsail Hill! This dune provides a picturesque view of the ocean and coastal dune lakes.

3:00 5:00 p.m. The fun and learning continues with either a kayak trip on Western Lake or a historical tour and perspective of the Town of Grayton Beach and the surrounding area. The leisurely kayak trip is for casual paddlers (beginners welcome). Phillip Ellis, Coastal Dune Lakes Program Coordinator for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, will be the lead interpreter, with assistance from staff of the Florida Natural Areas Inventory and participants will be able to continue their coastal dune lakes experience from a uniquely different perspective. While paddling the lake, you will learn more about the formation of the coastal dune lakes system, what makes it unique, the regulations in place to protect it and the threats to its integrity. The non-kayakers are in for a treat as well. Dr. Joe Knetsch, official historian of the Division of State Lands, will enlighten and entertain as he leads participants on a tour of the City of Grayton and discusses the acquisition of Pt. Washington State Forest. Make sure to bring your camera!

For more information on Coastal Dune Lakes, visit

Restoring the Sandhills, Creating Recreational Space and Land Acquisition Partnerships

12:30 p.m. Board buses at Sandestin Hilton and depart for the Econfina Creek WMA

12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m. Experience the recent development explosion between Sandestin and Panama City firsthand (In-bus presentation while we travel along Hwys. 98, 79, 388, 77 and 20.)

1:15 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. Tour Syfrett CE/Exchange property – Discuss/Experience innovative land acquisition, habitat restoration and management project.

1:45 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Travel to Quail Run Plantation CE property – Travel past FNST Trailhead facility and longleaf pine restoration sites on Hwy. 20.

2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Quail Run Plantation CE property – See natural sand hill vegetation community and associated steephead near Econfina Creek.

2:30 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. Travel to Pitt Spring/Econfina Canoe Launch

2:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Pitt Spring/Econfina Canoe Launch – Observe/Discuss impacts to springs that experience heavy public recreational use. Visit environmentally friendly canoe launch with boardwalk and floating dock.

3:00 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. Travel to and through proposed Patronis Family/Gainer Pond Exchange property (stay on Bus) – Discuss proposed transaction, view habitat restoration and bridge installation.

3:25 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Travel to Hobbs Pasture – See Mobility Impaired Hunting area, bridge construction, observe a wiregrass donor site under development and experience an old growth longleaf pine forest along Deer Point Lake.

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Depart to return to Sandestin Hilton - Experience the the Northwest Florida Greenway route [In-bus presentation while traveling on Hwy. 20 west to Hwy. 331 - Recent development, Forest, Lakes and Plantation property, Nokuse Plantation property, brief detour north on Hollington Road (about 1 ½ miles) to view proposed Lafayette Creek acquisition (if time permits)].

Suwannee River Wilderness Trail 
(field trip participants are required to provide their own transportation to Nature and Heritage Tourism Center )

10:00 a.m. (EST) Suwannee River Wilderness Trail Presentation

11:00 a.m. (EST) Tour of Stephen Foster State Folk Cultural Center Cabins

12:00 p.m. (EST) Lunch at Telford Hotel (on own)

1:00 p.m. (EST) Tour of Woods Ferry Primitive River Camp

2:00 p.m. (EST) Arrive back at Stephen Foster State Folk Cultural Center and depart for conference

Directions to Nature and Heritage Tourism Center
From I75: Proceed to Exit 439 and turn East on SR 136 towards White Springs. Go approximately 2.5 miles, cross the Suwannee River and continue to bear left on 136. Almost immediately on your left is our meeting place and parking area at the Nature and Heritage Tourism Center located at the intersection of SR 136 and US 41. From I10: Go North on I75 approximately 4 miles to Exit 439 and proceed as above. Vans will take the group on tour, to lunch, more stops after lunch then back to the Nature and Heritage Tourism Center for your drive to Destin.

Florida Center for Environmental Studies
Contact for registration information: Doreen DiCarlo at CES
Phone: 561-799-8553 | Fax: 561-626-1404 | E-mail: