10-year plan revealed for Camp Helen State Park

camp helen
Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 05:00 PM.

From 1945 to 1987, Camp Helen State Park operated as a company resort for the employees of an Alabama textile mill.

Keeping the past in mind, state officials now are planning for Camp Helen’s future, which they’ve proposed to include an expansion of recreational development within the park’s 182 acres.

Representatives with Florida State Parks presented a draft unit management plan for the park at a public meeting recently, providing blueprints for managing the park over the next 10 years.

“We think that Camp Helen has a lot of recreation potential,” said Albert Gregory, assistant director for Florida State Parks. “Camp Helen is a state recreation area where we see a lot of opportunities.”

The proposed conceptual land use plan includes the development of a 10-to-12 cabin group camping area, two canoe and kayak launches, a boat dock, a picnic pavilion area and a new park administration building with interpretive exhibits, restrooms and a concession space. It also calls for additional parking areas, trails, boardwalks and access roads at the park.

If approved, the projects would be prioritized based on the amount of funding available, Gregory said.

The first management plan for Camp Helen, located on the Bay-Walton County border, was adopted in 2003 and included a long-term sublease with Gulf Coast State College for about 45 acres of the property. GCSC originally intended to develop an environmental education center within the park but has since abandoned those plans, prompting the state to reassess the land use plan.

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