So, how was your visit to the beaches of Destin? The city wants to know.
To get a better idea of why people come or don’t come to beaches, city officials, in conjunction with the Haas Center at the University of West Florida, are conducting a public beach access survey. and people’s experience with Destin’s beaches.
The survey literally only takes a minute or two to complete.
So where do you find the survey?
Beachgoers can see signage at every city-operated beach park and trail with two ways to access the survey. They can complete the survey online at www.uwf.edu/visitorsurvey or scan the panel’s QR code with their mobile device.
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City Council and staff seek to collect as much data as possible to gain insight into public beach access and people’s overall experience with Destin’s beaches.
The city began the investigation in 2019.
“We targeted Destin residents as well as visitors,” said Catherine Card, the city’s public information officer.
The final report will be presented to City Council in December.
“It will cover resident and visitor outcomes pre-COVID, during COVID, and post-COVID,” Card said.
The Haas Center shared preliminary results with the board in June.
The results showed that from August 20, 2020 to June 16, 2021, 751 people responded. Of this number, 153 accessed it from a panel on the beach (or the QR code). All others accessed it online (social media).
“Access to Destin’s public beach is an ongoing issue,” Card said.
“Acquiring public beach access is a top priority in Destin City Council’s 2020 Strategic Plan. Fortunately, with the expansion of Crystal Beach, we have begun the process of expanding the public beach in areas where we know there is a pressure point,” she said. .
“We all know there has been a shortage (of beach access) and we need to address that by acquiring more,” Destin Mayor Gary Jarvis said.
“Residents and visitors can do their part by taking this survey to let us know what they think of our public beach. The information we receive will help us keep this important project front and center. all the many stakeholders in this process,” Jarvis said.
The survey covers questions such as: “Are you a resident or a visitor?” “Was there adequate parking?” “Was there enough space at the beach?” and “What is the most you would be willing to pay for daily access to a beach on a future trip to Destin, if the money raised had to pay for the addition of a new beach park?”
Destin has eight beach trails listed on its website: Barracuda Trail, Calhoun Trail, Crystal Beach Trail, O’Steen Trail, Pompano Trail, Shirah Trail, Silver Shells Trail, and Tarpon Trail.
Beach parks include June White Decker Beach Park and Norriego Point Beach Park. Henderson Beach State Park and James Lee Park, a beach park near the Okaloosa/Walton county line, are also included on the website as access.
“The time and effort of the public to help us with this investigation will help city officials make improvements for residents and visitors to the city,” Card said.