Eden welcomes Living Shoreline Trail

DEBORAH WHEELER
Eden's Living Shoreline Trail

Have you ever visited Eden Gardens State Park and wondered about all the old majestic trees on the property?

You may now take a self-guided tour with a pamphlet in hand that will tell you about a variety of trees on the property.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance held a ribbon cutting at the park on Oct. 30 for its Living Shoreline Trail that now serves as the end to the walking tour.

A Living Shoreline is a management option that uses living plants, oyster shells, sand fill, and offshore breakwaters to protect from shoreline erosion.

The living shoreline at Eden was completed in January.

CBA began constructing living shorelines in 2006 with goals of providing habitat for oyster settlement, increasing intertidal salt marsh habitat, and decreasing shoreline erosion.

Living shorelines provide increased nursery, feeding and refuge habitat for estuarine organisms, while improving water quality by water filtration from oysters on the reef and storm water runoff purification by shoreline grasses.

The Living Shoreline Trail brochure highlights 18 of Eden's most notable trees along the approximately 3/4 mile path, including the popular "Wedding Tree," the "Kissing Tree," and its gingko trees. Park manager Sasha Craft said tests show the majestic Wedding Tree to be more than 600 years old. It is a Virginia Live Oak.

The Living Shoreline Trail is available the same days and hours of the park -- seven days a week, 365 days a year from 8 a.m. until sunset. There is no charge to use the trail or for the brochure. There is a $4 admission charge to the park per vehicle. Brochures are available at the kiosk at the park entrance.

For more information about living shorelines email gwinr@nwfsc.edu.

For more information about CBA visit http://www.basinalliance.org.

And for more information about Eden State Gardens visit www.floridastateparks.org/edengardens/.