South Walton gets a new walking trail thanks to St. Joe

DEBORAH WHEELER

Walkers, bikers, joggers, bird watchers, and nature lovers now have a new piece of the woods to explore, thanks to the St. Joe Company.

Last week, St. Joe Senior Vice President Jorge Gonzalez held a ribbon cutting at Watersound Origins' new trailhead that will allow the public access to walk the 5-mile trek to connect to the Panama City Beach conservation park. From there, walkers and bikers would also have access Gayle's Trails in PCB, said Gonzalez.

"There are extensive trails in Point Washington State Forest, and here is our land in the middle of networks of trails," said Gonzalez. "We thought it would be cool to do this and make it accessible to the public."

St. Joe retains ownership of the property and will maintain the trail, he said, which has markers and a bench for resting at the mid-way point.

"We have already had a big interest from cyclists," said Gonzalez, "and it should prove popular since it connects with the conservation park in PCB, which is highly used."

In addition to trail access, environmental programming information will be available to users, and the Watersound Origins cafe is also open to the public.

"We like trails and we think it's what individuals want. It was our idea," said Gonzalez. "As we plan, trails are a big part of our sector plan. This Watersound Origins trail is the first of many we plan to have."