Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is an international program that aims to reduce environmental impacts. Walton County Ordinance 2016-16 supports this program by requiring personal items be removed from the beach each night. Personal articles that are found abandoned on the beach one hour after dusk and one hour after sunrise will be removed. Leave No Trace is monitored by Code Enforcement of Walton County.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Leave No Trace?
Leave No Trace is an international program that guides outdoor enthusiasts in their decisions to reduce their impacts while enjoying recreational activities.
What is Beach Ordinance No. 2016-16?
Walton County has made progress in promoting and enforcing beach ordinance 2016-16 Section 22-54(g), which states:
Personal property on the beach between one hour after dusk and one hour after sunrise. (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to leave an item of personal property on the beach between one hour after dusk and one hour after sunrise, unless a permit has been granted by Walton County.
Why did Walton County enact this ordinance?
The beach ordinance was enacted due to the need for emergency vehicles to navigate the beach more safely year-round and to protect wildlife, such as sea turtles during turtle nesting season which occurs annually from May to November. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission mandate to coastal counties that obstacles on the beach at night be prohibited. This is in effect at other Florida beaches and is being more strictly enforced because of the large decline of turtle nests being recorded.
What is the Walton County Tourist Development Council’s (TDC) role in the program?
Visit South Walton has been tasked by the Board of County Commissioners to educate visitors and residents about the Leave No Trace Ordinance. Visit South Walton acts as beach ambassadors and stewards of the program and offers information to educate beachgoers on the importance of keeping our sugar-white sand clean, safe and habitable for sea turtle nesting. Community awareness is meant to ensure beachgoers, locals and visitors in general are in compliance with Walton County laws.
What is Code Enforcement’s role in the program?
Code Enforcement will enforce the ordinance and remove the abandoned items.
Can a person recover the items that have been removed?
Property that has been removed from South Walton beaches in accordance with Leave No Trace will be discarded this season.
Is there anywhere else beachgoers can place their personal items?
For those who own or are renting beach front property, personal items may be placed in a neat bundle at the toe of the dune.
Can you place items under the beach accesses and walkovers?
No. Any personal items left under or attached to a public beach walkover will be considered abandoned and removed.
Do you need to get a permit for kayaks or larger items?
No. There are no permits for larger items and may be placed neatly at the toe of the dune.
Can you obtain a permit for large items, permanent structures and vendor boxes?
Yes, there is a permit that can be obtained for permanent structures and large items such as sail boats. These requests will be reviewed to ensure that the structure or item does not impact sea turtle nesting and does not supersede any state or federal permits. For more information, contact code enforcement at 850-622-4578.